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Ruth with Still Yellow painting

Ruth with Still Yellow

Colourful abstraction

Through a creaky garden gate, past a bed of herbs and vegetables; studios line one side of the garden, silent and inactive on this dreary grey Bank Holiday Monday. Then HOT reporter Lauris Morgan-Griffiths stepped out of the splodgy, cold rain into a vibrantly colourful exhibition of colourful abstraction. It couldn’t have been a more perfect time to see Ruth Wurzburger’s  riot of colourful paintings, collages and assemblages.

I wander around the exhibition, it is so vibrantly coloured it takes a while to adjust my eyes.

Spectrum Column, painted wood assemblage 2008

Spectrum Column, painted wood assemblage (2008).

I am interested to overhear Ruth talking to some visitors about the fact that one has been hung upside down; most people would not notice but it matters to Ruth and the effect she produces. The shapes are often offcuts from other people’s wood and recycled materials which she works into shapes meaningful to her. Although the work is abstract she gives the space to allow the viewer to evoke their own feelings and interpretations.

“My main inspiration as an artist has been a strong pre-occupation and connection with colour. In my work I have explored the symbolic nature and experience of colour, recently pursuing ideas of colour into further forms.”

To begin with I find some of the paintings too busy with colour, as blues, reds and greens swoop and curve, the archaeology of the painting is revealed with overlapping blasts of colours that give a depth to the work. Colour is important, the symbolism of colour represents different moods: red – passionate, blue – spiritual, calming.

Reflection

Reflection.

And then I get my eye in and I marvel at the blasts of colour that convey different emotions: A Rainbow is an explosion of all colours of the rainbow in arcs of blues, greens and reds with a quiet, yellow orb towards the middle.  Still Yellow feels likes a maelstrom of fire – possibly in my mind due to fire in Hastings, the pier and the recent Old Town’s George Street tragedy.  And then I look again and it feels more like the quietness after a storm; brightness settling over dark, brooding, pier-like shapes. Reflection looks down into pools of cerulean blues overlaying pinks.

PinkOrange Formation, wood assemblage 2012

Pink Orange Formation, wood assemblage (2012).

Working in layers of paint it is no surprise that Ruth has moved from paintings into 3-D assemblages. I like the flat painting of these works: Ruth, evidently a great colourist, is not afraid of clashing colours. In Pink Orange Formation (2012) the pinks and oranges could be jarring, retina-searing. But, down to her knowledge, emotion and feeling for tones, she beds the work into accessible, warm paintings. By moderating the clashing colours with accents of browns, blacks, or green she calms the work and introduces another emotional layer.

A group of people sitting around a table enjoy Ruth’s home-made cake. Unsurprisingly, it is suitably colourful, studded with blueberries and raspberries.

The experiences of the exhibition would be sunny and atmospheric on any day but it is particularly vibrant on this dank day.

Exhibition runs Tuesday 27 to Saturday 31 May, 1pm-5pm, and Sunday 1 June, 10am-5pm. Brunch is available at the Beacon.

The Beacon is at 67-68 St Mary’s Terrace, Hastings TN34 3LS
(down the steps opposite number 12).

Posted 16:51 Wednesday, May 28, 2014 In: Visual Arts

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