Ginny Ruffner: Reforestation of the Imagination — Oct 14-Feb 18
October 14, 2023 – February 18, 2024
Ginny Ruffner with Grant Kirkpatrick, Digitalis artherium (Double art flowers), 2017, sculpture (handblown glass with acrylic paint tree rings), island (plywood, low-density foam, fiberglass, epoxy, sand, pebbles, and acrylic paint), and holographic image. Sculpture: 9 x 13 x 11 ½ in. Installation view at MadArt Studio, 2018. Courtesy MadArt. Photo by James Harnois.
Ginny Ruffner: Reforestation of the Imagination combines traditional sculpture with augmented reality (AR). By using technology to overlay digital information onto sculptural objects, two disparate environments are portrayed. The setting is an apocalyptic landscape far in the future. The initial environment consists of five landmasses, which support the glass stumps. Except for the painted shelf mushrooms and tree rings on the stumps and logs, the scene is colorless. The landmasses surround a sixth rocky outcropping that features a large fiberglass stump. The central stump sprouts beautifully grotesque bronze, then glass appendages. This improbable growth has survived the devastation to create a new botany.
“Other than the central stump, the landscape appears at first glance to be barren. Yet, upon viewing the tree rings aided by AR technology a second environment is revealed. Plants appear (both fruit and flowers) which have evolved from existing flora. They have developed dramatic appendages and the skills necessary to adapt and flourish in this radically different environment. From accessing nutrients in ways that symbiotically improve their surrounding conditions, to cultivating protections from new threats, these adaptations are unexpected, beautiful, and optimistic. This is nature reimagining itself. The imagination cannot be exterminated. It just recreates itself.” —Ginny Ruffner
About the Artist:
Photo of Ginny Ruffner by Doug Tucker
Seattle-based artist Ginny Ruffner trained at the University of Georgia, graduating with honors and an MFA in drawing and painting. Ruffner has had more than eighty five solo exhibitions and several hundred group shows, and her flameworked and mixed-media sculptures and installations can be found in numerous national and international collections. Seattle public art installations include a 30 foot tall kinetic water feature downtown and a permanent installation in the Seattle Art Museum’s Olympic Sculpture Park. Recent augmented reality projects, in collaboration with Grant Kirkpatrick, include Weston Riff at Photo Center NW; Branches at Seattle International Film Festival; and Poetic Hybrids at the Seattle Art Museum. She has written two books and been the subject of an award-winning full-length documentary, A Not So Still Life: The Ginny Ruffner Story (2010). Ruffner has lectured and taught extensively and has served as artist-inresidence at schools and universities around the world.
Grant Kirkpatrick is an emerging animator and new media artist based in Seattle. After studying at Cornish College of the Arts for three years, he graduated with a focus on motion design and animation. Coming from a fine arts background, Kirkpatrick has considerable interest in the intersection of art and technology, particularly VR/AR, game design, and mixed-media work.
Ginny Ruffner: Reforestation of the Imagination is organized by the Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian American Art Museum. Generous support for this exhibition is provided by Art Bridges, the Smithsonian American Women’s History Initiative, Elizabeth and James Eisenstein, Ed and Kathy Fries, Shelby and Frederick Gans, James Renwick Alliance, Colleen and John Kotelly, Betty and Whitney MacMillan, Jacqueline B. Mars, Kim and Jon Shirley Foundation, and Myra and Harold Weiss.