ARTIST • MOTHER • COMMUNITY ACTIVIST
Raised in VENICE, CA. I’m on a path that I never expected. Starting out as an oil painter that led to filmmaking, creating multi-media installations that include audio, social media, video, public art, and social engagement. My focus is on positive social change, working with concepts that reflect identity and the value of people.
My art on 9th and O St. is an extension of my studio paintings and video work that reevaluate the roles women have resisted and submitted — highlighting the wisdom women embody beyond limited role models.
Located on 9 Th & O St. in Sacramento, CA.
An Art in Public Places project by City of Sacramento Office of Arts and Culture. Co Sponsored by CADA and the Downtown Sacramento Partnership.
Ruth Chase is a multimedia artist whose work speaks to the value of people to their community—working with themes of belonging, visibility, and what it means to be a human. Ruth is a graduate of the San Francisco Art Institute whose artistic practice is inquiry-based and engages community bridge-building. She was awarded a Certificate of Appreciation from the City of Los Angeles for Art in Action and a grant to an individual artist from the Carl Jacobs Foundation. She was granted a residency at the Millay Colony for the Arts in NY, published in Professional Artist Magazine, Catapult Art Magazine, and Huffington Post, and has taught at the Crocker Art Museum. Ruth was a featured artist on the Dead Files TV program and was awarded an Artist in Residence at Nevada County Arts for Artist Activating Communities through a grant from the California Arts Council for three consecutive years. Her film BELONGING screened at the 18th Annual Nevada City Film Festival and Wild & Scenic Film Festival. Ruth received the Legendary Female Artist of Venice, exhibited in The Crocker Kingsley, the Museum of Northern California Art, and the Diego Rivera Gallery at the San Francisco Art Institute.
Center for The Arts | The Granucci Gallery 314 W. Main St., Grass Valley, CA Tuesday – Saturday 12 – 5 PM No appointment required
Ruth Chase BLUR: Unraveling the Feminine, Masculine, and Everything In-between August 3 — September 11, 202
The Granucci Gallery is excited to present BLUR: Unraveling the Feminine, Masculine, and Everything In-between, the gallery’s first solo exhibition of artist Ruth Chase’s work. On view from August 3 – September 11, 2021, this exhibition consists of portraits and figurative paintings, video, an art film, and a public engagement piece. The show is a collaboration between Ruth and more than sixty volunteer participants. There will be a public reception from 5-7 pm onFriday, August 20.
Ruth’s work is fueled by collaboration. Using video and paint, Ruth challenges traditional roles prescribed by society, exploring feminine and masculine traits that embody all genders rather than being defined by one’s outward appearance. The work presents contrasting viewpoints, encouraging the viewer to come to their own conclusions. The exhibition is a gaze into a broader experience of being human and ever-evolving.
Motherhood opened a world within Ruth, both painful and empowering, inspiring her to depict on canvas the complexity of the mother/daughter relationship. Experiencing her daughter’s adolescence awakened memories within her, causing a deep reflection on how our childhood shapes us as women and the role vulnerability plays in our development. Her studio paintings capture fragile moments taken from her daughter’s selfies. Other paintings in the show come from images sent in by men and women looking at the masculine-feminine spectrum.
Because collaboration is essential to her work, Ruth began conversing with people on Zoom to generate a sense of community and escape the isolation of 2020. Thirty conversations took place over a year; Ruth spoke with people worldwide who shared their insights on many topics beyond the initial question of what it means to be a woman. The conversations encompassed health issues unique to women, feminine empowerment, insecurities, teen pregnancy, motherhood, and balancing masculine and feminine energies. Often the conversation gravitated to gender and sexual identity, challenging cultural norms, and working around rigid stereotypes.
Ruth presents her subject matter in an accessible exhibition that is neither definitive nor a statement about feminism but rather a glance into the lives of everyday people and their thoughts and feelings about women.
Ruth paints in acrylic on canvas, blurring the lines with drips and intersecting patterns, shapes and edges. Gray is a dominant color to represent gender neutrality, allowing the viewer to bring more of themselves to the work without being drawn into commercial stereotypes of the feminine. The paintings are created by layering several thin washes of color to impart a sense of history, experience, and emotional complexity.
Her video work informs the paintings and delivers a broader perspective. The art film is a collage of moments that allow the viewer to connect with unlikely perspectives, finding a sense of belonging with someone they may see as “other.”
Hi my name is Ruth Chase, I’m looking for people to participate in a short interview with me recorded on Zoom for an art film I’m making titled What Does It Mean To Be A Woman. I invite people of different social and ethnic backgrounds, genders, and sexual orientations to join the conversation, working with individuals living worldwide.
A BIT OF INFO
After recording interview, nothing is shared publicly without your permission
“Speaking of art school….impressions, stories and remembrances as told by alumni and faculty of the San Francisco Art Institute”. This series is about perpetuating the culture and legacy of the San Francisco Art Institute through recorded interviews.
What was once an inadequate space to work has become a dream come true studio-ette. With the need to work from home now, and a gratitude shift, I had to abandon a big sexy studio and turn our one-car garage into my workspace. Ruth Chase
“Women: Independence, Interdependence”
by Ruth Chase
acrylic, thread, cotton yarn on cardboard with video
24 x 48″
I am exploring independence and interdependence of women. Through the use of cardboard, acrylic paint, thread, and cotton yarn, this piece is a meditation on how pain is stored in the female body. With phrases like I am afraid to be vulnerable, I am not lovable, and childhood fear taught me not to trust, were written on each disc, and used to create the breast element in the work. Within the work, there are references to gender dysphoria, menses as independence and interdependence, and the female body as being in service.
THE ART OF COLLABORATION – RUTH CHASE AND CHANTELLE GOLDTHWAITE
Now in Year Three, Belonging manifests as HOME, and elicits perspectives on cultural identity from our less represented populations. Ideas of “home” are being explored through the lens of art salons, our gold country history, our recovering native population, and our recent immigrants. Critical bridge building tools are emerging through creative practices, as we meet. Saturday Morning Question ran from 2017 – 2020.
This is a daily account of artist and mother, Ruth Chase. Reflecting on her experiences starting in 2020 through 2021. Living in Northern California between Sacramento and Lake Tahoe.
FEB 14 “When we base our identity and self importance on what we believe… we will find it difficult to be skeptical. But Remember, self confidence is being able and willing to questions your own beliefs.” – Don Miguel Ruiz Jr.
Working on the art for the electrical box in Sacramento. So exciting, it’s going to be up for three years. Here is my first draft design. The box will be on 9th and O Street.
I try not to get too frustrated about where I’m at in life. Wishing I was further along than I am, basking in the abundance of my labor. Wading through self-loathing and low self-esteem took a considerable amount of energy and time.FEB 11
WHY anyone would trust the government is beyond me. As a welfare child, it was clear the system was designed to disempower and create dependency, especially for people of color. I say power to the people, SERIOUSLY. I had to rant; I can’t keep it in anymore.
I was invited to be the first guest for a podcast for SFAI students and Alumni by Thomas M. Houston. I felt a vulnerability hangover the next day. I didn’t want to give an interview and be cryptic and not say my truth, especially since I’m always asking other people to share for my interviews. Such a great experience to be so open about where I come from, my drug use, and my struggles with keeping up in a world that is designed for readers and writers.
How long must one live in the dark, until one can see in the dark. – Florence Scovel Shinn
I just discovered Mallence Bart-Williams TedTalk. She has taken homeless children off the streets and into school, developed a sneaker and clothing collection, published a book and documentary, and fine art exhibitions. I absolutely relate to what she is saying about how to help people in need. I remember distinctly watching my mother struggle to rise above the welfare system. I tried to help her, even at a young age. But the system won’t let you. It’s all or nothing. And now looking back I can see how that very system was likely meant to keep certain people in their place, keep them from becoming successful, empowered, self sufficient. Mallence even talks about how organizations that go into Africa to offer aid are causing more damage than good. If you’ve lived this, than you understand why it’s so damaging.
Just discovered Thomas Sowell. I think I’m discovering more and more about what makes sense to me. Or at least challenging my ideas or beliefs.
Social media is NOT reality, just another version of a version of it.
I’m now working with Heather and Michael on Forest Fire. Feels great to be part of a team on a project. I’ll be leading a group of people on a few field trips to see forest management.
I’m but a dragonfly on the water of life
It is my goal to present questions, not answers.
I’ve been part of the SFAI Alumni lately. It’s been so healing to reconnect with peers from the school. Especially at this time. Very grateful for Maria who is hosting the meetings and for Thomas who has such great energy. We did an interview together, I’ll share it when it comes out.
BITTER MOMENT DISCLAIMER: Feeling disgruntled how I invite into my life, my work, and my heart with robust enthusiasm and they just don’t feel reciprocal, at all. If you work in a community you likely experience this. Practicing unconditional giving. Sigh.
JAN 1 – 2021 From 1/1/2019 Creatives and artists often don’t live in the mainstream. So whatever is “trending” now, they are YEARS beyond that mindset. They’re innovators, expanding the way we see and experience the world around us. They have an essential role in healing and teaching, giving us new ways to think and observe our lives, storytelling, stabilizing the economy, revising history, and bridging gaps. Artists are the fiber of transformation; they are visionaries and a precious resource for building our communities.
Congratulations! The selection panel has selected you for a commission in CADA (Capitol Box Art Project) Box Wrap Revival! The Art in Public Places, Project Manager fir Sacramento Office of Arts + Culture
Painting feels a bit like I’m losing all my pawns tonight. Avoiding a checkmate if possible.
Been thinking a lot about the idea of false gods.
“I’ve had a lot of worries in my life, most of which never happened.” ― Mark Twain
I don’t follow rules, I interpret them.
After much inner debate about why I shouldn’t sell my paintings online, I’ve decided to take control of my own destiny and give art collectors a place to purchase my work directly.
I’m not always comfortable expressing who I really am. Sometimes I’m loud and proud and against the grain, while other times, I play it safe. This project is causing me to grow and change in ways that scare me at times. Looking at my relationship with power, what I’ve submitted to, and the choices I’ve made out of fear, or as my friend Kim says, playing it safe because of underlying fear. If SAFE seems to be a theme for 2020 in more ways than one then I would like 2021 to be fearless.
The art world can be so unapproachable. What’s considered “HIGH ART” becomes art made for its own audience. While I love it because I have an art education,I also find it is so pretentious and unapproachable.
Tears are the passage to healing
In every news article, artwork, song you are looking to see yourself, to feel yourself, to know yourself.
The power of positive thinking and staying in my own lane. Maybe or maybe not? Feeling uplifted by good news. My work was excepted to the Crocker Kingsley this year.
Just received this email: Thank you for taking the time to submit your work to the Crocker Kingsley. Unfortunately, your artwork listed above has not been selected for this show. Please note: if you submit more than one work of art for this opportunity, you may receive more than one email. Please read each email carefully.
Promptly following this email: Congratulations, your artwork listed above has been accepted into the Crocker Kingsley!
Imagining how things would be different if fear was not the style of presenting information.
The world feels like a global version of my dysfunctional upbringing. Making me realize I’ve been groomed for this shit.
Lately, I’ve been revisiting the mindset I had in my late teens. A time when I was very anti-establishment and obsessed with CRASS, Ayn Rand, and Kate Bush at the same time. Joining every protest and calling myself a citizen of the world. I suppose I’m an adult version of that young girl still as I sift through the feelings I’m having. With age, family, and motherhood that edge has been softened until recently. Is my cynicism from growing up in an environment that let me down, never trust authority, resisting popular movements, never allowing myself to get caught up in the moment that everyone else is having? We are complicated, life is complicated, nothing is black-and-white. I am many things all at once.
KEEP CURIOSITY ALIVE
Hold the vision, trust the process.
The value of a person is not determined by how they vote.
While I voted, I am more of a POWER TO THE PEOPLE kinda gal. I’ll continue to hold my faith in people, not an elected official.
As an artist, I’m more interested in hearing what people really think and feel over telling people what to think and feel.
“I’m learning how to drown out the constant noise that is such an inseparable part of my life. I don’t have to prove anything to anyone. I only have to follow my heart and concentrate on what I want to say to the world. I run my world.” – Beyoncé
Open Studios starts out rough. Never fun to have the first guest that can’t wait to leave upon entering. Admittedly, my work isn’t for everyone. In the end, Studio Tours was really great. Lots of heartfelt conversation, even a few teary eyes. I couldn’t ask for more.
If JOY were my destination I would be lost as where to find it. This week I’m going to write a daily gratitude focus. I feel stupid even saying those words out loud. DAY 1: I am grateful I can escape the smoke.
“I felt my lungs inflate with the onrush of scenery—air, mountains, trees, people. I thought, “This is what it is to be happy.”- Sylvia Plath
2001, I remember this day and exactly where I was. Living in Meadow Vista, CA as a single woman. It was traumatizing, unbelievable. I just want to say that I mark this day as the same feeling, only that it’s been a slow trickle to get here, while 9/11/01 was all at once. May peace rule our hearts, may love guide us in trying times.
Nevada County: Total Cases of COVID 478, 5 deaths, 288 West County, 190 East County
At first, with COVID it was hard to work, but things kept getting harder and more stressful so that now all I can do is work to keep my sanity.
Life feels like I’m living in a house who with parents divorsed and I am choosing to stay in my room because I don’t want to be part of their arguments. They are asking the wrong question, they insist on arguing about who is right and who is wrong instead of how are we going to get through this together.
I’ve almost gone numb, I’d like to call it surrender, what will be will be. I can’t take the drama anymore and I’m finding myself constantly refocusing. As if that muscle is just getting stronger and stronger. Refocus on family, art practice, and kindness.
Last night we were certain we may need to evacuate, but then once CalFire had all the updates realized it wasn’t as close as we thought. Tonight we will sleep with our phones on, cars packed, ready.
Wild fire season, car packed just in case
Nevada County: Total Cases of COVID 255, 1 death, 116 West County, 139 East County
Nevada County: Total Cases of COVID 228, 1 death, 100 West County, 128 East County
I’m not one. Or the other.
MY MAYBE UNREALISTIC THOUGHTS ABOUT SCHOOL OPENING
I am one of those parents who hope for on-campus school to open with a totally different model than what we’re used to.
I find it interesting that mental health is at the forefront of all things going on right now. And with our teens, it strikes me as being critical to moving forward.
I’m sure it’s unrealistic, but here are my thoughts. And I fully recognize that the schools have a tremendous burden to deal with, and teachers must feel safe. I feel quite lucky to live in a place that is likely thinking out of the box on these things already.
That the schools’ primary function when on campus is to hold a space for our youth to be together for their mental health and stimulate a desire to continue their education for when they are at home. If only a couple of days a week. And for as long as they can hold classes outside. Sitting on the ground, walking, moving. Smaller groups with all the social distancing, mask waring stuff. Taking a more off-grid approach. Zoom classes at home that require video participation unless unable, so kids see each other and keep a connection going. Create our on-campus schools to hold space for our youth if for nothing more than a tiny lifeline of connectedness and less concern about traditional education.
The longer the pandemic – the more feral I become.
I suspect when it comes to COVID we are 100% being lied to, and we will not really know until a decade passes. However, I still feel the same about waring masks. Not because we always need to, because it puts people at ease even when they are feeling fear. It’s a community statement, not a political statement. Also, because I can’t know anything for sure.
I refuse to live in fear or do something to make someone else fearful. Everyday is a struggle, my only goal is to keep from wanting to give up and being there for Adrienne. Staying positive and staying away from catastrophic thinking. No one knows anything for sure with so many opinions that have proof flying around. I most certainly know one thing for sure, that hope and being positive in the face of chaos is a lifeline.
I was raised feral, in a household with no expectations of me, other than survival. It’s a sharp contrast to my daughters upbringing, hence the painting I did “Innocences as a Privilege”.
Durning this pandemic and now social unrest in the wake of George Floyd, the level of depression our children have is even more exasperated. As a parent it’s a struggle keeping things together. A challenge that I must keep rising to meet.
Let’s not confuse neutrality with the right to pause and take thoughtful action.
News – Gossip?
The end of BELONGING Saturday Morning Question. Ended on a quiet note because of all the unrest in the world. I’m still processing, but will comment on it at some point.
Dear Sadie, I don’t believe there is one truth, I believe there are many truths that coexist at the same time, that is why I have to follow my own truth.
Dear Sadie, It’s my baby’s 15th birthday today. Being in quarantine is not her birthday wish. There has been lots of sadness about not being able to celebrate with her new group of girlfriends. Even though we’re doing well, with lots of talking and listening, it is also a time of challenging mental health for many families with teens.
To be still, to listen To my breath The beat of my heart The sound of my soul My personal path On the collective
Dear Sadie, I’ve started a weekly live program on Instagram with Chantelle called THE ART OF COLLABORATION. @cgoldthwaite and I have decided to work in cardboard for a collaborative piece recorded on IGTV. We will each be doing our own piece that will come together as possibly a diptych. We wanted a way to inspire each other and you to be creative during the shelter in place. it’s being totally made up as we go along.
Dear Mom, I wish I could see you, seeing me being a mother. A wild child and also your caretaker, we were quite an odd match. It was you and I, always. I remember when you were living, grabbing onto you like a child, though in my 20s. I was sad that you would die one day because you were all I had. You taught me humility, compassion, unconditional love, and the importance of loving people, all people. It wasn’t until I became an adult, beyond your departure that I really implemented what I learned from you by the example you lived effortlessly.
MAY 6, 2020
Dear Sadie, I hung out with my girlfriend Heather the other day. We’ve been getting together in her backyard. I bring my cooler over with my own cocktail and appetizer and we set across the table from each other. At one point I was overwhelmed with emotion. I realized how much spacial intimacy I take up. A gentle lean into a whisper, touching her knee as a hand gesture to say, I care, or even a slap of the table with me belting out a big (spittle full) robust laugh was all shut down. I had this thought, was this what it is like to be a proper lady? How exhausting and how boring. Anyhow, it sucked.
MAY 2, 2020
Dear Sadie, That’s it, I’m ready to put on my mask full time and resume my life.
MAY 1, 2020
Dear Sadie, Adrienne’s birthday is coming up in a couple of weeks. She is beginning to feel really down about not just her birthday but thinking about all the events that were canceled over summer. A trip to Disneyland with my sister is one such event. It has been really hard lately, I can only imagine what it’s like to be her age and an only child. Sigh
APR 29, 2020
Dear Sadie, Herd mentality makes more sense when you learn about how herd immunity works.
APR 27, 2020
Dear Sadie, Its hard to know what authentic thoughts and feelings I’d have when I’m spoon-fed perspectives by “experts” with a limited insight diet.
APR 25, 2020
Dear Sadie, Our home, the one I hated only months ago is becoming my dream home. We are working on the yard so we have a place to be during the summer, with shade and placed to sit. As of today, Nevada County West has 12 cases of Coronavirus.
APR 22, 2020
Dear Sadie, I had a conversation with a family member the other day, in so much fear. It wasn’t like I disagreed with them. My take away after sifting through our conversation over and over the past few days was that I am always presented with fear, realities that are possible nightmares, but that I have a choice to hold my attention on solutions where there is less fear for me. My mantra yesterday was ….. Problem-solving is where hope lives, where innovation thrives. I just kept thinking about that. CHOICE: It’s an amazing place we live, here on earth. And choosing is one of the great experiences that we get to interact with.
APR 20, 2020
A REBIRTH A PIVOT
“Ruth, you will need to reinvent yourself after having a child. Don’t make plans to go back to where you were before you were pregnant; instead, plan on your rebirth. What you need in your new life will become visible. The more you resist change, the harder it will be.” Retrospective perspective.
I am in yet another rebirth with this quarantine, and I must drop what I thought about myself, my world, my home, my life, and allow a renewal, a pivot, to transform me.
If I remember correctly, the rebirth happened against my will. It took me screaming and clawing. I’m thinking I could learn from my past.
APR 19, 2020
Dear Sadie, I have finally landed in a space I can call my own. I have a studio. For the past seven months, I’ve been struggling with on and off depression. I never realized just how vital my studio was to my mental health until it was taken away. And during this quarantine, it’s been painful not having a place to recalibrate, create, wonder. I’m here now writing to you, listening to the birds outside my window, dog at my feet. I can have my own thoughts here, I can be myself here.