Tuesday, April 12, 2011

A Painterly Story

Loves Were Phantoms by Ruth Wartman
Ruth Wartman Q&A
Ruth Wartman, a local artist, took time out of her schedule to talk about her art, her love of birds, and her artistic process.

Wartman's artwork evolves through a process of adding and breaking down layers. By doing so she is able to explore many themes and concepts within her artwork.
 Can you talk about your artwork and your artistic methods?
My artwork is mainly painting. I've always been really interested in painting as layers. That even when you wipe out a portion, it's still somewhat there. It's kind of a catch-22, that you can't really erase mistakes or a change in direction, but the buildup of those mistakes/changes winds up being the painting. I'm always wiping out bits, repainting large sections, and the painting builds. But it mostly comes from being dissatisfied with what's there.

While working on your artwork what themes, ideas, or concepts are you exploring in your artwork?
I'm always trying to get to the core heart of the matter in my work. I'm interested in what hangs on in the painting after I wipe things out. What sticks. I'm not a fan of frill. I try to get it down to bare bones as a way to see what I'm really dealing with and figure out what I'm really saying. Kicking out what isn't really needed and seeing what's left. I'm interested in making work that is clear but remains open for interpretation.

What made you decide to become an artist? Why do you create art?
In high school the art room was the only part of the day that excited me. It demanded me to be engaged and I needed that. I couldn't fake art. You either put in the time or you don't and it always shows. I liked that it really asked me to be present and to ask questions. So I'm sticking to art. I make art, honestly, as a way to connect to my surroundings and a way to figure myself out. It's functional for me in that way. I make something then can look back at it and think "oh, that was what was going on". It's like a mirror. A reminder and proof that I'm still here.

Are there any artists that inspire you in your work? If so who would they be and why?
Not Another Love Song by Ruth Wartman
I've been looking at a Polish painter, Beksinski lately. These fairly dark scenes, but there's something light and almost whimsical at the same time. Huge ominous cathedrals except that it's maybe floating and the scene is soft and silent. I like that mix of calm and keeps you on your toes eerie. I've always been drawn to surrealism. Something about there being more truth in fiction.
Can you explain your interest in birds within your artwork and the significance they play in your pieces?

Birds took hold late in college as a way to paint figuratively without painting the figure. I wanted something concrete but not really defined. The birds acted as psychological self-portraits. I am mostly interested in perspective from flight. The idea that you could lift up and out of any given situation and view the bigger picture. Gain a better perspective on what's happening by changing how you're looking at it.

And finally, What advice would you give to other artists?
Something I try to tell myself, pursue what you find exciting and don't take yourself too seriously.

For more information about Wartman and her artwork visit her website at http://www.ruthwartman.com/

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