Heather Ryan Kelley, Repertory Dance, Ruth Rippon | Episode 701 | Art Rocks!

Heather Ryan Kelley, Repertory Dance, Ruth Rippon | Episode 701 | Art Rocks!


THIS TIME ON ART ROCKS, HOW ONE ARTIST IS USING SYMBOLIC IMAGERY TO UNLOCK LITERARY SECRETS. DANCE’S POWER TO ENTERTAIN AND EDUCATE, AN AMERICAN MUSEUM’S TREASURE TROVE OF EUROPEAN MASTERPIECES. AND A CALIFORNIA SCULPTOR REDEFINING “THE VESSEL AESTHETIC.” ALL THAT UP NEXT ON “ART ROCKS.” ♪ ♪ HELLO AND THANK YOU FOR JOINING US FOR “ART ROCKS” WITH ME, JAMES FOX SMITH, PUBLISHER OF “COUNTRY ROADS MAGAZINE.” PLEASE MEET A LOUISIANA ARTIST WHO HAS DEVELOPED A VOCABULARY OF SYMBOLICMANS, WHICH SHE USING TO ENCODEMENTALS IN HER ART. LAKE CHARLES’ HEATHER RYAN KELLY SHARES THE HISTORY OF VINI THOSE PAINTING AND WHY IT CAPTIVATES HER. BUT THE TRADITIONAL IMAGERY OF THE PAINTING IS FAR ALL THAT IS GOING ON IN HEATHER KELLY’S WORK. COME LOOK BENEATH THE SURFACE WITH US. VANITOSE PAINTING IS A CONVENTION OF PAINTING THAT USES OBJECTS IN A SYMBOLIC WAY. SYMBOLS WOULD INCLUDE THINGS THAT ARE FLEETING LIKE A YOU FLOOR THAT WILL QUICK — A FLOWER THAT WILL QUICKLY FADE OR A SOAP BUBBLE, THINGS LIKE MONEY OR BEAUTY OR ALL OF THOSE THINGS THAT ARE TRANSER TO AND TEMPORARY. SO THE PAINTINGS ARE MEANT TO BE LIKE A MORAL, TO FOCUS ON WHAT’S IMPORTANT AND I’M INTERESTED IN VEINI THOSE PAINT — VAN YI THOSE PAINTING — VANITOSE PAINTING. OBJECTS ARE IMPORTANT TO ME AS YOU CAN SEE FROM LOOKING AROUND MY HOUSE. OBJECTS ARE LIKE PROTAGONISTS ACTING OUT THE IDEAS FOR ME. SO I’LL HAVE OBJECTS THAT I’VE EITHER FOUND OR HAD BEEN GIVEN TO ME AND I’LL USE THEM IN MY PAINTINGS TO WORK OUT IDEAS THAT I’M THINKING ABOUT. AND THE OTHER CATEGORY BESIDE OBJECT PAINTINGS ARE PAINTING RELATED TO THE WRITINGS OF JAMES JOYCE. AND FOR THE 20 YEARS I’VE BEEN THINKING MY WAY THROUGH FINNIGAN’S WAKE, WHICH IS A COMPLICATED AND RICH SOURCE, AS A POINT OF DEPART TOUR. IT ALL STARTED WHEN I WAS A FRESHMAN AT SOUTHERN MEMODDIST UNIVERSITY. WE PREYED PORTRAIT OF THE ARTIST AND DUBLINNERS AND I LOVED THOSE BOOKS. AND MY TEACHER SAID IF YOU LIKE PORTRAIT, YOU’LL PROBABLY LIKE ULYSSES, AND IF YOU LIKE ULYSSES, THEN THERE’S FINNEGAN’S WAKE. AND HE SAID IT’S IMPOSSIBLE TO GRASP OR GET YOUR MIND AROUND. AND THOSE WORDED WITH — THOSE WORDS STAYED WITH ME FOR YEARS AND YEARS. AND I FINALLY DID COME AROUND THE READ EULESS LIST AND I LOVED IT. I HEARD MY GRANDMOTHER’S QUIRKY PHRASES IN IT. MY FIRST INSTINCT WAS TO DO THESE DRAWINGS. THEY WERE RELATED TO THE TEXT BUT THEY’RE NOT EXACTLY ILLUSTRATIONIAL. ULYSSES PLAYS WITH STYLES THE SERIES OF PAINTINGS ALLOWED ME TO PLAY WITH STYLE AND REFERENCE DIFFERENCE TIME PERIODS IN THAT LITTLE SERIES. IT IT AAND THEN WHEN I KIND OF WORKED MY WAY THROUGH ELYSEES, I THOUGHT THEN THERE’S FINNEGAN’S WAKE. SO I TURNED TO THAT AND I’VE BEEN CAUGHT IN THE WEB. IT’S A REMARKABLE WORK. AND EVEN MORE SO IT’S ABOUT ITSELF. IF YOU KNOW WHEN ULYSSES OR FINNEGAN’S WAKE, YOU’LL GET A CONTENT FROM THE WORK. BUT I THINK IT IS EYE IMPORTANT FOR THE WORK TO STAND ON ITS OWN. THE ILLUSTRATION TENDS TO BE VERY DEPENDENT UPON THE TEXT. YOU HAVE TO KNOW THE TEXT IN ORDER TO APPRECIATE IT, BUT I’M INTERESTED IN MAKING WORKS THAT HAVE A RESONANCE IN THEMSELVES. ON THE VERY FIRST PAGE THERE’S 100-LETTER THUNDER WORD. SO I DID A SERIES OF PRINTS BASED UPON THE 10 THUNDER WORDS THAT CYCLE OF SPRINTS IN THE COLLECTION OF THE NEW YORK PUBLIC LIBRARY AND THE HARRY RANSOM CENTER AT THE UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS. I WAS ABLE TO SHOW SOME OF THE WORK BASED UPON FINNEGAN’S WAKE LAST SUMMER IN ANTWERP AT THE ROYAL ACADEMY OF ART CONNECTED TO THE UNIVERSITY OF AN DWERP. AND THEN THE SUMMER BEFORE I SHOWED WORK IN TORONTO ALSO AT A JOYCE CONFERENCE THERE. I LIKE TO WORK WITH OIL JUST BECAUSE HEIGHTS AN EXPRESSIVE MEDIUM. IT GIVES YOU SOME TIME TO PLAY. YOU CAN MODEL THE SURFACES IN A WAY THAT’S HARDER TO DO WITH ACRYLICS. THIS IS BASED UPON A COUPLE OF SOURCES. A VERY EARLY MEMORY OF MINE IS I WAS BORN IN IN NEW HAVEN, CONNECTICUT. THERE WAS SNOW ON THE DRIVEWAY. I WAS 3 OR 4 YEARS OLD. I REMEMBER MOVING AWAY THE SNOW AND SEEING THE ROCKS OF THE DRIVEWAY BENEATH THE SNOW THAT WAS THERE AND JUST THE APPEARANCECH THAT I THOUGHT WAS LOVELY — APPEARANCE OF THAT WAS LOVELY. IT STRUCK ME AS A CHILD AND THE MEMORY IS STILL WITH ME. THERE ARE VOTIVE ELEMENTS THAT ARE ASSOCIATED WITH MEXICAN RELIGIOUS WORSHIP. AND THEY’RE OFTEN ATTACHED TO A STATUE AND SO FORTH. BUT THE EYE AND THE EAR ARE REFERENCE TO FINNEGAN’S WAKE BECAUSE IT’S SOMETHING THAT YOU NEED TO READ IT WITH YOUR EYES BUT HEAR IT WITH YOUR EARS WHILE YOU’RE READING IT. IT’S VERY — ALMOST PHYSICALLY INTERACTIVE OF A BOOK. THE RABBIT DOESN’T HAVE NECESSARILY SIM BOTTOMING WERE OVERTURE BUT I LIKE THE APPEARANCE. THERE’S A LITTLE BOOK THAT REFERENCES THE MANY BOOKS THAT I LOVE TO READ. THAT PAINTING IS A VINI THOSE POINTING AND IT HAS A CLOCK IN IT. OFTENTIMES THERE ARE TIME PIECES THAT ARE REFERENCED AS SUBJECT MATTER IN VANITOSE PAINTINGS. THE CLOCK IN THIS PIECE IS ONE THAT WAS FROM MY FAMILY BUT ALSO THERE’S A HAND OF BLESSINGS THAT IS ON MY STUDIO WALL. AND THERE’S A VASE THAT BELONGED TO MY GRANDMOTHER, SO THERE’S A LOT OF FAMILY HISTORY THAT’S PUD TOGETHER IN THE PAINTING. ON THE RIGHT-HAND PASSAGE THERE’S A BLACK AND WHITE PASSAGE THAT’S BASED UPON A PARAGRAPH OF PHOENIX PARK. THE PAINTING THAT SEEMS TO BE A PURSE IS CALLED HER DEVOTIONS. AND IT HAS A LOT OF RELIGIOUS MEDALS AND RIBBONS AND THERE ARE MILAGROSS ON THE SURFACE. KIND OF A SIZZLE PACK I BELIEVE IS THE MATERIAL. AND IT’S INSIDE MY CLOSE IN THE MY ROOM. IT’S ALMOST LIKE A SHRINE INSIDE OF THERE. SO IT’S A VERY FAITHFUL RENDERING OF THIS BAG. I’VE BEEN WORKING ON A SERIES FOR A LONG TIME. PAINTINGS OF BOOKS THAT ARE TROMPLOY AND THAT MEANS FOOL YOUR — TRUMP LOAD. THIS BOOK IS SOMETHING I’VE FOUND. I ACTUALLY PROBABLY FOUND NIT THE TRASH PILE. AND IT WAS UTTERLY DESTROYED. THE COVER IS TORN, THE BINDING IS COMING OFF OF IT, BUT IT HAS THIS BEAUTIFUL KIND OF FORM TO IT SO I RENDERED THE BOOK AND ALL OF ITS SAD CONDITION AND THAT’S PART OF THE SERIES. IN ADDITION TO PAINTING, I MAKE ARTIST BOOKS AND WHAT ARTIST BOOKS ARE IS SIMPLY ARTWORK THAT TAKES THE FORM OF THE MEDIUM OF BOOKS. THIS ONE IS A HARD COVER ACCORDION BOOK CALLED “A BATTLE.” I INITIALLY MADE A COLLAN AND THIS IS A DIGITAL VERSION OF THAT. BUT THE ACCORDION IS A WONDERFUL SCULPTURAL FORM OF A BOOK. IT CAN BE HELD IN YOUR HAND AND READ ALMOST AS A CODEX BOOK. OR IT CAN BE SET UP ON THE TABLE AND VIEWED AS A SCULPTURE. I HAVE BLANK BOOKS. THIS IS A BOOK THAT IS RELATED TO A FINNEGAN’S WAKE. THIS WAS SHOWN LAST YEAR. THERE’S A BRONCOS OF BOOKS — BOX OF BOOKS CALLED THE MIDDEN HEAT. THERE’S A SECTION OF PAINTINGS THAT A LARGE PORTION THAT’S RELATED TO ARTIST BOOKS. ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ SEEING ARTISTS ON TV IS GREAT, BUT THEY AND THEIR WORKS ARE BETTER IN THE FLESH. SO HERE’S SOME OF OUR PICKS FOR NOTABLE EXHIBITS COMING SOON TO MUSEUMS OR GALLERIES NEAR YOU. ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ TO LEARN MORE ABOUT THESE AND OTHER EVENTS IN LOUISIANA, KEEP YOUR EYES PEELED FOR A COPY OF “COUNTRY ROAD MAGAZINE.” OUR WEBSITE FEATURES AN ARCHIVE OF PREVIOUS EPISODE. JUST LOOKING ON TO LPB.ORG. THE REPERTORY DANCE THEATER IN SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH, HAS BEEN LIT UP BY THE POWER OF DANCE SINCE ITS FOUNDING IN 1966. TO FURTHER ITS MISSION, THE COMPANY OFFERS VARIOUS EDUCATIONAL PROGRAMS THAT TOUCH THE LIVES OF TENS OF THOUSANDS OF STUDENTS AND TEACHERS EACH YEAR. WE VISIT ONE SALT LAKE SCHOOL, NORTHWEST MIDDLE, TO LEARN MORE. ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ KIDS NEED A WAY TO EXPRESS. YES, IT IS VERY IMPORTANT THAT THEY’RE ABLE TO SPEAK AND ARTICULATE INTELLIGENTLY, BUT LET’S BE REAL. THERE’S MOMENTS WHERE WE’RE NOT COMFORTABLE DOING THAT. AND KIDS NEED AN OUTLET AND BE TONIGHT A MOVE AND TO BE ABLE TO BE CREATIVE AND EXPRESS IN A DIFFERENT WAY IS SO IMPORTANT AND VITAL. ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ I THINK IT’S IMPORTANT TO TEACH DANCE FOR MANY REASONS. I THINK ONE IS I PERSONALLY FEEL THAT YOU HAVE TO TEACH KIDS HOW TO USE THEIR BODIES AND NOT UNBE AFRAID TO MOVE. WE LIKE TO THINK THAT WE IGNITE THE CREATIVE VOICE IN STUDENTS OF ALL AGES. AND THROUGH DANCE, THEY CAN TELL THEIR STORIES, THEY CAN CREATE, THEY CAN EXPLORE. STUDENTS CAN DEVELOP ALL KINDS OF ATTRIBUTES THAT HELP THEM BECOME COMPLEX THINKERS, IMAGINATIVE LEADERS, AS WELL AS FOLLOWERS. ER IN REALLY ABLE TO DEVELOP THEMSELVES AND ARTICULATE WHO THEY ARE THROUGH DANCE. ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ REPERTORY DANCE THEATER,RDT, WAS FOUNDED IN 196 SUGGESTION AS A PROFESSIONAL MODERN DANCE REPERTORY COMPANY, WHICH WAS UNUSUAL AND DARING AT THE TIME, VERY REVOLUTIONARY, AND WE’RE STILL REVOLUTIONARY. GENERALLY WE SERVE 25 TO 27,000 STUDENTS A YEAR DISRKTS THAT’S WITHIN THE BREADTH OF OUR PROGRAMS. SO WHETHER WE ARE GOING THERE OR THEY ARE COMING HERE TO SEE A SHOW OR SOMETHING, THAT’S EVERY PROGRAM. WE OFFER CREATIVE MOVEMENT CLASSES, WHICH IS WHERE WE GO INTO THE SCHOOL AND WE TEACH ONE CLASSROOM AT A TIME. CREATE A MOVEMENT SESSION, WHICH CAN BE ANYWHERE FROM A HALF AN HOUR TO 45 MINUTES, AND THAT KIND OF DEPENDS ON THE SCHOOL’S SCHEDULE. I LEAVE THAT UP TO THEM. WE ALSO OFFER ASSEMBLIES WHERE THE STUDENTS WILL ALL COME INTO THE GYM AND THE COMPANY WILL COME INTO A PERFORMANCE. WE ALSO DO, IN THE SCHOOLS, PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT FOR THE TEACHERS THEMSELVES IF THEY’RE INTERESTED IN DOING MORE MOVEMENT IN THEIR CLASSROOMS. AND THEN THEY’RE ALSO WELCOME TO COME HERE TO THE THEATER TO SEE “VOINL, “VOYAGE,” OR WHATEVER SHOW WE’RE DOING THAT YEAR GEARED TOWARDS ELEMENTARY STUDENTS. AND WITH THAT WE OFFER A STUDY GUIDE AND SOME DIFFERENT IDEAS FOR THEM TO TAKE BACK TO THEIR SCHOOL AND USE INSIDE THE CLASSROOM. ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ I’VE BEEN WORKING WITH RDT SINCE 2004, BUT MORE CLOSELY IN THE LAST SIX YEARS SINCE I’VE BEEN HERE AT NORTHWEST. IN MY TIME HERE AT NORTHWEST, RDT HAS ALSO ASKED ME TO BE ON THE BOARD TO HELP WITH THE EDUCATIONAL COMPONENT, AND RDT WORKS VERY CLOSELY WITH MY STUDENTS THROUGHOUT THE YEAR. WHEN I TOOK THE CLASS AT SCHOOL, IT WAS — AT FIRST IT FELT KIND OF UNCOMFORTABLE, BUT AS WE WENT ON, I WAS GETTING REALLY USED TO IT. I WAS HAVING A LOT OF FUN. AND THE BEST PART OF IT WAS WHEN WE GOT TO GO ON FIELD TRIPS OR WHEN WE ALL WERE ABLE TO, LIKE — LIKE WHEN THE TEACHER HAD US MAKE OUR OWN BEAT AND THEN WE WHEN WE ALL PRESENTED IT TOGETHER, IT SOUNDED REALLY COOL. I LIKE THAT THEY DON’T TREAT US THAT WE’RE LITTLE KIDS. THEY TREAT US AS IF WE’RE ADULTS AND THAT WE CAN HAM OUR OWN. AND THEY’RE LIKE HERE’S THE CHOREOGRAPHER AND I WANT TO YOU LEARN IT AND SHOW ME HOW YOU DO IT AND MAYBE WE CAN MAKE SOME CHANGES TO ADJUST FOR HOW YOU — AND WHAT TYPE OF HUMAN YOU ARE. ALL THE TEACHERS WERE LIKE REALLY ENCOURAGING AND VERY ENERGETIC. SO THAT BROUGHT A A LOT OF THE KIDS, INCLUDING ME, SO LIKE WHEF MORE CONFIDENCE IN OURSELVES TO DANCE IN FRONT OF ALL THOSE PEOPLE. YOU NEED — WE MAKE SURE THAT WE GET TO COME UP WITH OUR OWN DANCES. AND OUR TEACHER, SHE’S JUST LIKE, HERE, I’LL PICK YOUR MUSIC AND YOU CAN THROW WHATEVER YOU WANT IN IT AND I’LL COME CHECK AND MAKE SURE IT’S SOMETHING DIFFERENT THAT YOU’RE NOT USED TO AND I WANT TO PUNISH YOU TO DO THINGS THAT YOU’RE NOT USED TO DO. I APPRECIATE THE FACT THAT RDT IS AN — I ALSO APPRECIATE THE FACT THAT RDT IS AN INCRED BRIDIVERSE COMPANY — INCREDIBLY DIVERSE COMPANY AND THEIR DANCES COME FROM ALL DIFFERENT WALKS OF LIFE. MY SCHOOL IS VERY DIVERSE. I THINK WE HAVE 29 COUNTRIES REPRESENTED AND 32 LANGUAGES THAT ARE SPOKEN AND RDT HAS CAUCASIAN, AFRICAN-AMERICAN, LATIN-AMERICAN DANCERS, AND MY STUDENTS REALLY NEED TO BE ABLE TO SEE PEOPLE WHO LOOK LIKE THEM. AFTERWAY LEAVE A SCHOOL, WE ALWAYS LEAVE THEM WITH AS MANY IDEAS AS I CAN POSSIBLY GIVE THEM PHYSICALLY, IN THEIR EMAIL, IN THEIR MINDS THROUGH JUST EXPERIENCE, AS I CAN. AND THEN I JUST HOPE THAT THEY WILL TAKE ONE OR TWO IDEAS AND TRY THEM OUT, SEE WHAT HAPPENS. OUR WORLD NEEDS DANCE. OUR WORLD NEEDS ART. RDT IS AT THE FOREFRONT OF PUSHING FOR JUST THAT. WE ALL KNOW THAT THE ARTS ARE AT THE VERY TOP OF THE CHOPPING BLOCK WHEN IT’S TIME TO GET RID OF SOMETHING IN EDUCATION, AND WHAT I ABSOLUTELY LOVE ABOUT RDT IS THEY ARE THERE TO SAY NO AND PUSH AND MAKE SURE THAT OUR STUDENTS ARE BEING SERVED THE WAY THAT THEY NEED TO BE SERVED. AND I WILL BE SUPPORTIVE OF RDT AND WHAT THEY STAND FOR TILL THE DAY I DIE. WELL, YOU KNOW, WE REALLY BELIEVE IN THE POWER OF DANCE. IT CAN CHANGE LIVES. IT CAN INSPIRE STUDENTS. IT CAN HELP THEM CONNECT WITH THE WORLD AT LARGE. IT CAN HELP VALIDATE WHO THEY ARE. AND ALL YOU REALLY NEED TO DO IS TO GO INTO A THEATER AND BE OPEN TO THE IDEAS OF MUSIC, THE LANGUAGE OF MOVEMENT, AND WE KNOW THAT WE CAN CHANGE LIVES THROUGH DANCE. ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ THE MUSEUM OF FINE ARTS IN BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS, RECENTLY RECEIVED A TRANSFORMATIVE GIFT — OVER 100 OUTSTANDING 17TH CENTURY EXAMPLES OF DUTCH AND FLEMISH WORKS IN OIL, BY SOME OF THE MASTERS OF THAT GENRE. THESE PIECES, WHICH REPRESENT THE DUTCH GOLDEN AGE, CONSTITUTE THE LARGEST GIFT OF EUROPEAN PAINTINGS IN THE MUSEUM’S HISTORY. TAKE A LOOK AT HOW CURATORS REABBOTTED TO THIS AMAZING ANNOUNCEMENT — REACTED TO THIS AMAZING ANNOUNCEMENT. THEY TOGETHER BY ANY STANDARD ARE A COLLECTION OF MASTERPIECES. AND WITH OURS, THE COLLECTION THAT EXISTS HERE, WE CAN SAY THE SUM IS TRULY GREATER THAN THE PARTS. MUSEUM OF FINE ARTS DIRECTOR MATTHEW TIDELE BOMB IS TALKING ABOUT THE COLLECTION OF DUTCH AND FLEMISH ART NOW HANGING ON HIS MUSEUMS ON WALLS. FLOWERS SO VIVID YOU LONG FOR THEIR SCENT, STILL LIFE THAT APPEARSA THAT THE TABLE HAS JUST BEEN COAT AND THOROUGHLY ENJOYED. LANDSCAPES WITH DISTINCTLY DUTCH SKIES OF BLUE. THEY APPEARED VIRTUALLY OVERNIGHT AS A PROMISED GIFT TO THE MUSEUM. IT WAS MOMENTOUS ENOUGH FOR A RIBBON-CUTTING. HOW DISTANT IS THIS GIFT FOR THE MUSEUM OF FINE ARTS? I DON’T THINK WE CAN OVERSTATE THE IMPORTANCE OF THIS GIFT ON SO MANY LEVELS. IT MAKES OUR COLLECTION OF DUTCH AND FLEMISH PAINTING DOUBLED IN SIZES, ALMOST. THE LARGEST GIFT OF EUROPEAN PAINTING IN THE MUSEUM’S HISTORY, THE IS FROM THE DUTCH GOLDEN AGE, SPANNING THE 17TH CENTURY. AND IT INCLUDES WHAT’S CONSIDERED ONE OF THE FINEST REM REMBRANDTS STILL IN PRIVATE HANDS. WHEN YOU COME TO SEE AELTJE, YOU WILL SEE WHY REMBRANDT IS ONE OF THE GREAT ARTISTS OF ALL TIME. HE’S SHOWING HIS TALENT AS A PORT TRAITIST AND HOW HE CAN CAPTURE AN ESSENCE OF A PERSON, AND ON THE OTHER WITH THE BRUSH. THE PROMISED GIFT OF 113 WORKS COMES FROM TWO MASSACHUSETTS FAMILIES WHO SPEND DECADES ASSEMBLING THEIR COLLECTIONS. ROSE-MARIE VAN OTTERLOO SAYS THAT AS SHE AND HER HUSBAND BEGAN AIR CHOIRING, THEIR CRITERIA WAS SIMPLE. FIND THE BEST WORK BY THE BEST ARTISTS. WE ALWAYS THOUGHT WE WERE JUST TEMPORARY CARETAKERS OF THIS ART AND WE’VE ALSO KNOWN THAT AT ONE POINT WE WOULD GIVE IT AWAY. THE MFA DESERVES IT. IT’S A WONDERFUL INSTITUTION HERE IN BOSTON. IT’S WELL KNOWN AROUND THE WORLD. WITH THE PAINTINGS ALSO COMES THE FUNDS TO ESTABLISH A CENTER FOR NETHER LANDISH ART, WHICH FELLOW DONOR SUSAN WEATHERS ABOUTBY SHOULD MAKE THE MUSEUM AN INTERNATIONAL DESTINATION FOR STUDY. TO BRING THIS CRITICAL MASS, REALLY, OF — OF PAINTINGS THAT REALLY DO COMPLEMENT ONE ANOTHER AND I THINK THIS WILL UNFOLD AS PEOPLE STUDY THE COLLECTIONS. UNTIL THEN, THE WORKS ARE WARM AND WELCOMING ENOUGH THAT YOU CAN PRACTICALLY CURL UP WITH THEM. CALIFORNIA HAS PRODUCED ITS FAIR SHARE OF GROUNDBREAKING ARTISTS. DURING 70 YEARS SPENT ACTIVE CREATING IN THE SAN FRANCISCO AREA, SERAMMIST RUTH RIPPON HAS INFLUENCED THE WHOLE EVOLUTION OF VESSEL-BASED CERAMICS AND IS OFTEN CREDITED WITH ELEVATING POTTERY WORKS FROM EVERYDAY FUNCTIONAL OBJECTS. SHE SHARES HER STORY WITH US. ♪ ♪ MY MOTHER WAS VERY INSTRUMENTAL IN MY BECOMING AN ARTIST. I WAS EITHER TO BE AN ARTIST OR A STENOGRAPHY IF — STENOGRAPHER IF THE ART WAS NOT SUCCESSFUL. WELL, IT MUST HAVE BEEN EXCITING FOR ME BECAUSE I NEVER GAVE IT UP! IT WAS JUST ALWAYS A CHALLENGE AND A PLEASANT ONE. ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ I KNEW VERY LITTLE ABOUT RUTH WHEN I GOT STARTED ON THIS EXHIBITION. WHEN I STARTED LOOKING AT RUTH’S BODY OF WORK, I WAS VERY SURPRISED AND IMPRESSED AT THE DIVERSITY AND THE TECHNICAL EXPERTISE IT TAKES TO PRODUCE SUCH A WIDE VARIETY OF BEAUTIFUL OBJECTS. SHE DID EVERYTHING THAT YOU CAN DO WITH CLAY, PRETTY MUCH. I WAS ALWAYS AWARE OF THE NEGATIVE SPACE OF THE OBJECTS, LIKE A PLATE OR A BOTTLE, AS WELL AS THE POSITIVE SPACE THAT YOU CREATE WHEN YOU ATTEMPT TO DESIGN THE SURFACE OF THE PIECE. I HAD NOT REALLY TOUCHED MUCH CLAY UNTIL I WENT TO THE CALIFORNIA COLLEGE OF ARTS AND CRAFTS IN OAKLAND. WHEN I WAS LIVING IN SAN FRANCISCO, I DID A LOT — I DID A LOT OF WALKING TO SCHOOL AND OTHER PLACES. AND IN NORTH BEACH ESPECIALLY, I I’D NOTICED THE WOMEN, TWO WOMEN SITTING USUALLY, OLDER WOMEN, WELL ENDOWED, AND — JUST TALKING, BEING TOGETHER, AND THAT INSPIRED A WHOLE SERIES OF WORKS. I THINK SOME OF HER LARGE STONEWARE FEMALE FIGURES ARE INCREDIBLY BEAUTIFULLY DONE. AND THEY’RE NOT JUST TECHNICALLY BEAUTIFULLY DONE, BUT THERE’S OBVIOUSLY A GREAT DEAL OF WARMTH AND FEELING THAT HAS GONE INTO THOSE FIGURES. I THINK THE HARMONY IN HER WORK STEMS FROM THE JOY IN RUTH HERSELF. SO I THINK THAT LEADS TO THE HARMONY THAT YOU SEE THROUGHOUT HER BODY OF WORK, EVEN THOUGH THERE’S AN INCREDIBLE DIVERSITY. RUTH IS VERY MUCH A STORYTELLER IN MOST OF HER WORK. FISH AND WATER — FISH AND WATER WERE IMPORTANT PARTS OF MY DESIGNS. EACH ONE IS INDIVIDUAL. I DID A COUPLE OF POLITICAL PIECES. I MADE A HAND WITH A FINGER POINTING THAT I CALLED “YOU.” AND THAT’S “THE ARMY WANTS YOU.” I GUESS THAT SOME OF THE MYTHICAL ONES WERE THE MOST CHALLENGING, TRYING TO EXPRESS IN LIKE A ROUND PLATE. I GUESS I START WORKING AND THEN ONE SPATIAL PART OF THE PIECE SUGGESTS ANOTHER. IT’S VERY IMPORTANT FOR A MUSEUM TO CAREFULLY DOCUMENT THE WORK OF THE ARTISTS THAT LIVE IN ITS REGION. IT LOOKS REALLY GOOD. [LAUGHTER] I WOULD SAY THAT RUTH IS GREATLY RESPONSIBLE FOR THE VIBRANT TRADITION OF CLAY THAT WE ARE LUCKY TO HAVE IN NORTHERN CALIFORNIA. SHE LAID THE GROUNDWORK FOR THE GREATER APPRECIATION OF CLAY AS A FINE ART, ESPECIALLY IN THIS REGION. SHE STARTED WORKING AT SAC STATE IN 1956, JUST ABOUT NINE YEARS AFTER THE SCHOOL WAS ESTABLISHED. THIS WAS AT A TIME WHEN, AT LEAST IN THE UNITED STATES, CLAY WAS STILL CONSIDERED BY MOST A CRAFT. IT WASN’T REALLY ASSOCIATED WITH HIGH ART. RUTH WAS PARTICULARLILY AS AN EDUCATOR NOT JUST A SKILLED ARTIST, NOT SOMEONE WHO COULD JUST TEACH HER STUDENTS PHYSICALLY HOW TO DO THINGS. BUT IT WAS HOW TO BRING COMMITMENT AND JOY TO THE PROCESS. THE IDEA FOR THIS ONE I WAS TAKING A SUN BATH IN MY BACKYARD. AND I JUST WAS ENJOYING THE WARMTH. I ALWAYS THOUGHT OF THEM AS MY CHILDREN SINCE I HAD NONE OF MY OWN. I THOUGHT THAT THEY WERE MY CHILDREN, MY STUDENTS. I TAUGHT WHAT I WAS TAUGHT AND HOPED THAT THE MESSAGE GOT TO THE STUDENTS AND SHOWED UP IN THEIR WORK. NOT JUST LIKE MY WORK, BUT CREATING THEIR OWN STYLE OF WORKING. RUTH’ — RUTH’S LEGACY AS AN EDUCATOR AND ARTIST SET AN EXAMPLE FOR YOUNG ARTISTS TO JUST — JUST TO LET THEM THANKS THEY CAN DO THEIR OWN THING. I THINK, QUITE HONESTLY, EVERY PIECE IN THE SHOW SHE DID, SHE DID FOR HERSELF. SHE WAS THE PERSON SHE HAD TO PLEASE, AND THEN THERE’S ALWAYS THE HOPE THAT, YEAH, SOMEBODY ELSE WILL BE PLEASED TOO. BUT THIS IS FUN TO DO, TOO, THE CARVING. I JUST WANTED TO EXPRESS MY OWN THOUGHTS ABOUT THINGS. IT MEANT SOMETHING FOR ME TO MAKE IT AND I WAS GLAD IT WAS APPRECIATED ENOUGH FOR SOMEONE WANT TO HAVE IT. ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ THAT’S THE WAY I FEEL. [LAUGHTER] I HAVE DONE ENOUGH. I’M OLD ENOUGH AND I — IT’S NOT EASY WORK, YOU KNOW. CLAY IS VERY DENSE, VERY HARD, HEAVY TO WORK WITH. BUT I ENJOYED EVERY MINUTE OF IT. ♪ ♪ . ♪ ♪ THAT’S THAT IS THAT FOR THIS EDITION OF “ART ROCKS.” BUT NEVER MIND, YOU CAN ALWAYS WATCH EPISODES OF THE SHOW AT LPB.ORG/ART ROCKS. IF THAT’S NOT ENOUGH, COUNTRY ROADS MAGAZINE IS A GREAT RESOURCE FOR ENRICHING YOUR CULTURAL LIFE WITH ART, CUISINE, ESCAPES AND EVENTS ACROSS THE STATE. SO UNTIL NEXT WEEK, I’M JAMES FOX SMITH AND THANK YOU FOR WATCHING. ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪

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