Artist  Statement



My early figure paintings became increasingly abstract and their space compressed.  Because of an interest in dance and desire to work with live models, I became resident artist with the Sybil Shearer Dance Company. Her creative genius excited all of us working with her. The dancers were great models and they were in wonderful motion while I sketched them.  I  also designed costumes for the company. This reconnected me with years  spent in my father’s clothing factory , watching him design, make patterns and manufacture mens’ coats.  There I created my own clothing designs ,which would  then be sewn by the factory seamstresses. After the dance costumes were designed, cut and pinned, the company members sewed them into being. Increasingly , I desired to work with more dimensional space, and in a more tactile manner. Around this time, I taught an experimental summer program for the School of the Art Institute, which was later sponsored by Northern Illinois University. The program, different than the high school and college curricula I taught,  aimed at developing the artist as a member of and integral part of their community and environment.  We were based in Aspen, and then in Crested Butte, Colorado--my first experiences in high country living.  The rocks, the detritus of the deserted mines and the funky nature of the area led to my interest in installations and assemblages based on non-classical mythology and materials  found in local junkyards and deserted sites. Unpredictable paths and solutions opened.  The mountain environment excited me with its beauty, challenges and  new esthetic direction., It  led to my next great adventure. Building a house that started with dream images  became an important reality in my life. Of growing importance was an interest in architecture, its construction, relation to site, environment, and its mythology. Books like Carlyle’s Sartor Resartus, Calvino’s Invisible Cities, Rudofsky’s book and MOMA exhibit, Cities Without Architects, Soleri and Gaudi’s structures, plays by Genet and Pirandello, reentered my consciousness.  In a short time I embarked on a challenging new venture, creating a house as an art form--a sculpture to live in and to be closely related to the environment.  From that time on, all merged into one consuming line of  artistic inquiry, most clearly seen in my current work.


This work examines a post modern landscape...a place of  varied geometric structures and the movement of people across that landscape..a landscape where time and timelessness coexist.  In this place  structures are created, dissolved, and re-created.  Electrical energies synergistically bind the changing and unchanging elements. Images are viewed from a more global perspective. Movable boundaries, entrances and exits, and massive migrations of people reflect  today’s world as well as past times.   The figures and their shadows mark their place in time and space,  which exist with the ever-changing architectural forms around them. The past, present and future coalesce.

copyright © 1964 Ruth Esserman
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