I AM HERe Installation

Women in a Rural County

Women are an essential part of any community, yet their sense of belonging is often tied into gender roles, not always satisfying their sense of belonging. Mother, sister, partner, we all have women in our lives. I AM HERe is intended to mirror the voices of how men and women view women’s unique sense of belonging against the backdrop of our rural community. Lead artist Ruth Chase has sought to examine her own sense of belonging over the course of a year by asking questions through social media and taking her personal journey alongside the community. Now, the public is invited to share their own stories about themselves or the women in their lives by participating in the public art installation.

NEW WORK

Artist Statement Ruth Chase

I struggle with the notion of what a woman is. My work explores what it means to be a woman and the struggle to understand all that entails. I create large intimate paintings from images that women have submitted and from selfies that my daughter has taken. I also create public art installations and video from public engagement projects.

Motherhood opened a world within me that is both painful and empowering. Causing me to reevaluate the roles I have resisted and submitted to, and how I see myself as a woman.

Using my daughters’ selfies, I am able to capture the complexity of the mother/daughter relationship. Experiencing my daughter’s adolescence has awoken memories, causing a deep reflection on how our childhood shapes us as women, and the role vulnerability plays in our development.

Documentary ‘Belonging’ featured at Wild & Scenic Film Festival

Laura Peterson                                                
Special to The Union
January 15, 2019

Ruth Chase by Lori Lachman 2018

In her film, “Belonging” local artist and director, Ruth Chase documents the stories of people living in Nevada County, including Shelly Covert, spokesperson for the Nevada City Rancheria, Nisenan Tribe.

The film is an initiative of Nevada County Art Council and funded in part by California Arts Council through its Artists in Communities Program. Chase and Covert are scheduled to show the film during this week’s 17th Annual Wild & Scenic Film Festival comes to Nevada City and Grass Valley.

The pair are scheduled to participate in activities such as opening reception, art shows, fireside chats, coffee talks, workshops and film panels throughout the five-day environmental and adventure film festival that attracts filmmakers, change-makers, and activists from around the globe.

The two sat down and answered a few questions. Chase had this to say:

What inspired you to make the film, “Belonging?”

“Belonging” is about how people find a sense of belonging through the land, the earth, and the environment. I was initially interested in examining the unique connection people have with the land they were born on and if that connection changes when residing in a place other than their birthplace.

 

Channeling My Work

One of my first portraits from back in the day.

When I started painting, I would follow a voice that would come forth from a spirit on the other side asking me to see them. I had no idea what I was doing, I would just paint, in time I understood that I could use channeling from nonphysical energy to guide my work. I remember distinctly that this spirit was eager to be seen and released. While I still use this method in some of my work, I am so much more aware of what is happening and far more particular of who and what I channel.

“White Face”
oil on canvas
6 x 4′
1990
by Ruth Chase
Ocampo Collection

White_Face_Oil_on_Canvas_6_x4_1990 by Ruth Chase
“White Face”, oil on canvas, 48 x 72”, 1990

Early Work >

 

What Does It Mean To Be A Woman

What does it mean to be a woman, a question I have never explored until this very moment.

From an early age, I noticed that being a “girl” put me in a place of vulnerability and I was very aware that physical danger was awaiting me if I wasn’t careful. So as a young adult “woman” I would make sure that my clothes and persona were tough enough to scare away predators.

Now I look back and see that it wasn’t until bearing a child, at the age of 40, that I began to connect with my womanhood. I was getting in touch with my body and its functions specific to having a child and becoming awakened to the physical characteristics that make me a WOMAN. I loved being pregnant, I loved my body and being able to hold another universe within.

I have spent a lot of time rejecting the expectations put on me by the outside world of what a woman is or should be, or should not be. I have never been sure of how I fit into the expectations of the world around me. I also, at times, did not want to own the power and blessings that come with femininity. On the inside, I felt like I hadn’t decided if I wanted to be feminine and on the outside, I knew to be a tomboy or punk sent a message to leave me alone, I’m not open for this “girl” business. Sometimes I wonder if I would have chosen to be a woman in this lifetime if I were given a choice before I was born. I suppose I have also been pissed off about being a woman, now that I think about it. So far, the most amazing thing about being a woman has been birthing my daughter, who by the way is VERY girly and VERY feminine. I’m having an ‘aha!’ moment writing this. I may even need a good cry.

Beyond the Frame – Museum of Northern California Art – Panel Discussion

I will have the most challenging painting I have ever made exhibiting in the Museum of Northern California Art. I am so proud to be representing VENICE in this exhibition about the value of street art to our communities.

MUSEUM OF NORTHERN CALIFORNIA ART
900 ESPLANADE
CHICO, CA

Beyond the Frame Panel Discussion | August 26

Beyond the Frame Exhibition
July 19 – September 2, 2018

Microsoft_Word

SEE and hear more about Leonard

“Never Forget Where You Come From, Always Remember Where You’re Going” by Ruth Chase will be exhibiting this month at part of Beyond the Frame. Street art often has a reputation as part of a subculture that rebels against authority, although it can also express a political practice, and serves as just one tool in an array of resistance techniques.

I BELONG HERE Pop Up

IMG_7810

2017 ongoing

A pop-up installation where Ruth asks people if they want a hug and if she can take an instant photo of passers-byes, then encouraging them to hang the photo where it could be seen as a reminder of their importance and value to their community. The backdrop is a pop up photo booth intended to be a personal encounter with another human,  changing the roll of the selfie from an isolated “look at me” photo to a visceral experience that involved contact and purpose.