Ruth Hamill: Above Water
Mingo Gallery, 284 Cabot Street, Beverly MA
November 14 - January 18
Opening Reception: Saturday, November 16, 5-7 pm
Artist Statement/Ruth Hamill
I work intuitively, finding my way through by doing, making mistakes and following where they go. Working both on canvas and on paper, I embrace the liminal, the waiting and not knowing, the time between what was and whatever is next. In my work, water is a symbol of the liminal nature of life. A wave is gone by the time our eyes send the image to our brain. It is so dynamic, deep down and on the surface, that any static depiction of it is pure fiction.
My work is about transiency, the moment here and gone, and about the accumulation of these ever-changing moments, interactions, experiences that make up a life. In my work on paper, I look at each piece as a life-in-process, being lived. Some are simple, cleanly layered: young. Some are chaotic and so layered that they warrant a close look. They start with a base of watercolor and/or gouache representing our givens at birth such as family, DNA, genealogy and geography. Then, the people, places and events are the layers of ink, ending with relief printing, which suggests the imprinting of it all.
In my studio practice, I alternate between the hot/messy/smelly/standing/physical/uncontrolled encaustic work and the cooler/cleaner/odorless/sedentary/still/controlled work on paper. The meticulous nib and ink mark making, gouache and watercolor painting, and relief printing of my work on paper are a welcome counter balance to encaustic, an ancient medium that involves heat and pigment-embedded wax.
Regardless of medium, I develop work that relies on an open take and experimentation with traditional materials and an exploration of transience in contemporary life.