BLUR: Unraveling the Feminine, Masculine, and Everything In-between
curated Ruth Chase and Brynn Farwell
I invite you to comment and share your stories and observations.
This is a daily account of artist and mother, Ruth Chase. Reflecting on her experiences starting in 2020 through 2022. Newly living outside of Nashville, Tennessee.
It’s Mothers Day today. I find myself saying often, I can’t believe I’m a MOM. As of yesterday my studio is fully organized and looking so good. I woke up early to be in the new space, make a coffee at the table I set up that has a coffee pot and espresso maker, sit and ponder what I will be making next?
I can see the appeal this would have for the lazy spirited human. Replacing individualized morality challenges with a kindergarten based system of gold stars and punishment to control the masses. Can we really institute morality?
Tennessee has a wisdom about it.
Party politics are lame! I roll my eyes and walk away. I am so tired of the world bickering about who is right and then we stay in aggressive behavior and never really help people in need and connect with each other in honest conversation. All I see is that while people keep arguing about abortion in terms of how many weeks is ok, then we are never addressing the real question…. how can we support young women at risk to have an unwanted pregnancy, why are women having unwanted pregnancies? I have a few ideas about these questions as I grew up in a house with teen pregnancy. So abortion and how many weeks is a distracting conversation driven by party politics. What happen to serve people, not just your party.
What is My Life Calling Me to Show Up For? My daughter, my house, my art, me????? I have more I don’t knows that anything else. Just listened to an interview I did with F*ck Suffering with Rei Hance about a week before we moved to TN.
Three weeks in Tennessee. A complete demo our kitchen already. Life with Ryan is constantly on the move, no rest for the weary. Basically, we will be living through a 4-6 month remodel, air mattresses – no kitchen. For right now I’m just happy to be here. As for my art……… I’m a blank page.
Packed it all up and moved to Tennessee.
I want to become a BLURacrat, a party that recognizes that there is more than one way to create positive change. Admittedly, I know little about politics.
JAN 19 – 2022
A trip to Tennessee made me realize that I suffered from California Delusion – you know where you think that California’s better than any other place because we were told we are better?
The news is generally a disservice to humanity
“Do I exist without my phone?”
And here I sit on my phone, perhaps begging for small morsel of digital currency disguised as acceptance. Slightly afraid to speak my real mind, slightly unsettled about how I may really feel.
No one can make you feel inferior without your consent. – Eleanor Roosevelt
“After you get stung, you can’t get unstung no matter how much you whine about it.” ― Sue Monk Kidd, The Secret Life of Bees
“I am dreaming, leave me alone, shhhhhh”
I cannot cannot sit with all the feelings and thoughts I have about the world around me. None of them are reflected by a political party or any particular news outlet.
Democracy, “rule of the people,” doesn’t just allow for freedom of expression and inquiry; it requires it. – Dr. Julie Ponesse
Growing up in VENICE, CA I learned how drug dealers operated and saw the manic in their eyes to push their drugs at all cost.
On the days I feel but a single spec of sand, insignificant and powerless, I imagine that all the hope and love I send out into the world is part of a vibrational (mycorrhizal) network. Eventually, each person’s energetic contribution contributes to the whole.
EMAIL: Thank you for your submission! We appreciate your taking the time to reach out and share your work with us. At Chauvet Arts, we strive for excellence
EMAIL: Dear Ruth, I regret to inform you that your recent application to the Individual Artist Fellowships program was not funded by the California Arts Council. The Council’s funding decisions are based on the peer review ranking of your application, which did not rank at a level supported by Council funds this year.
Sincerely, Josy Miller
Arts Program Specialist California Arts Council
Preparing for BLUR. An exhibition I’m having in Grass Valley, CA. I’ve exhausted the topic of women and am wondering where I will wonder next?
Every day I WAKE UP and every day I go TO SLEEP.
CONCEPTUAL ART A physical manifestation akin to the language of a dream.
REPURPOSED ART Thinking of creating a series of images?
One is not born, but rather becomes, a woman.
-Simone de Beauvoir
Feminine and masculine traits embody all genders.
If One Can Shut Down All Alternative Viewpoints, One Can Become the Sole Provider of “Truth”.
EMAIL: Thank you again for applying for Artwork Archive’s Art Business Accelerator Grant. Unfortunately, while your application displayed a strong portfolio of work, we are unable to offer you the Art Business Accelerator Grant this year.
EMAIL: Thank you for your interest in our Humanities for All: Quick Grant program. Your application has been submitted.
Thank you! California Humanities
EMAIL: Thank you for submitting your application. 2021 grantees will be notified by the end of October, and their names will be publicized on the Foundation’s website (http://chenvenfoundation.org/) and on the Foundation’s Facebook page in early November (https://www.facebook.com/chenvenfoundation).
Standing up for my right to be miss informed by choice.
My name is Ruth Chase, I’ve been an artist for over 30 years. My work isn’t selling for $500,000 a piece.
What keeps me balanced is that I remain authentic to who I am and receptive to change.
EMAIL: Dear Ruth Chase,
In the inaugural year of the Art Business Accelerator Grant, we have been truly impressed by the high level of artistic excellence displayed in the over 3,300 applications. Unfortunately, while your application displayed a strong portfolio of work, we are unable to offer you the Art Business Accelerator Grant this year.
The Artwork Archive Team & Redline
It’s painful to see no public discussion by authorities in charge (yeah right) and more so that friends and family won’t engage in the conversation about contrasting points of view on treatment and ethical administration of the C Jab in our youth and that sharing contrasting data with anyone results in them rejecting it unless they found the information for themselves.
It has been really hard containing myself about the children getting the jab with not knowing the possible long term effects. I feel that on one hand ones belief system is respectfully theirs to have, and imposing mine is none of my business. Honestly I’m struggling with this, wondering who am I to preach, is there a one size fits all right and wrong here?
Wondering if there are any artist challenging the mainstream ideology about C these days. Seems dead out there in the art world as far a contrast goes?
EMAIL: Dear Ruth Chase (Boudreaux), Thank you for your interest in our Humanities for All: Quick Grant program. Your application has been submitted. Thanks, Grants Department California Humanities
EMAIL: Thank you for submitting your application. 2021 grantees will be notified by the end of October, and their names will be publicized on the Foundation’s website (http://chenvenfoundation.org/) and on the Foundation’s Facebook page in early November (https://www.facebook.com/chenvenfoundation). Due to the large volume of applications, only the award recipients will receive individual notification.
“If we don’t believe in freedom of expression for people we despise, we don’t believe in it at all.” ― Noam Chomsky
EMAIL: Thank you very much for being a part of our first submission period of consignment artists. Unfortunately, we are not able to bring your art into the Crocker Museum store right away, but we will continue to rotate out artists from our consignment section and will keep your work in mind when space becomes available. I will also continue to reach out to artists for other projects.
It has been said that most revolutions are not caused by revolutionaries in the first place, but by the stupidity and brutality of governments. – Seán MacStíofáin
EMAIL: Dear Ruth, Thank you for responding to the Green Open Space at Washington & National Blvds. Request for Qualifications. Unfortunately, you have not been selected to propose for the Green Open Space commission. Sincerely, Dyson & Womack
Principle of Legitimacy 1 – People who are asked to obey authority have to feel like they have a voice and be heard 2 – The law has to be predictable. That rules stay fairly consistant. 2 – Authority has to be fair, not treat one group differently from another
I appreciate everyone who has taken risks to express publicly their ideas and research, especially when it’s not popular. Challenging our belief systems, science, history, the news is a very healthy thing.
My life is a mix of constant self doubt and fearlessness.
EMAIL: Dear RUTH, Thank you for sharing your work with Innovate Grant. We’re sorry to say that your submission was not selected in this cycle.
EMAIL: Dear Ruth, We have received application for the California Arts Council’s Individual Artist Fellowships program. California Arts Council
EMAIL: Dear Ruth: Thank you for submitting work to the Crocker Art Museum’s 43rd annual Art Auction. Unfortunately, your piece was not selected this year.
EMAIL: Thank you for your entry in the 2021 NOT REAL ART Grant program. This is to confirm your submission was received by us.
EMAIL: Dear Artist, Thank you so much for submitting your work for consideration for the 36th Annual Made in California Juried Exhibition. Unfortunately, your work was not selected to be a part of the show this year.
EMAIL: Hi Ruth, Thank you for your interest in RedLine Contemporary Art Center. We have received your submission and look forward to reviewing it.
EMAIL: Hi Ruth Chase! We’re sending you this automated email to let you know that we’ve received your Awesome Foundation application.
EMAIL: Dear Ms. Chase: Thank you for your letter with its application and enclosures seeking support from The Pollock-Krasner Foundation. We regret to tell you that after careful consideration, the Board of Directors of the Foundation has declined your application at this time.
“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.
I’ve been following my brother in law Donald Boudreaux lately. He has had some reasonable and interesting perspectives on Covid and economics. http://www.aier.org/article/i-cant-stop-wondering-about-covid-19
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.
EMAIL: Dear Ruth, Thank you for your submission to grayDUCK gallery. We have received your email and look forward to reviewing your work. Due to a limited amount of shows per year, we are only able to show a small amount of the talented artist we review. If we have questions or want to proceed to the next level we will contact you.
EMAIL: The Billboard Creative team would like to thank you for submitting to the 2021 Los Angeles Billboard show. Unfortunately, your work was not selected for exhibition.
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.
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.
EMAIL: Dear Ruth, Thank you for reaching out regarding your proposal from Arts Collective of Nevada County for the project What Does It Mean To Be A Woman. Your proposal scored Excellent, out of possible scores including Ineligible, Weak, Some Merit, Good, Very Good, and Excellent. Due to lack of funds we are not able to make awards to all worthy applicants.
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
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.
EMAIL: Dear Artist, Congratulations! The selection panel has selected you for a commission in CADA Box Wrap Revival!
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.
EMAIL: Dear Ruth, The City of South Gate received an overwhelming response to the Artful Distancing Program. The art committee was impressed by the thoughtfulness of responses to our first-ever open call and had to make some tough decisions. We regret to inform you that your submission was not selected.
EMAIL: Hi Ruth, Unfortunately, Lon-art Creative didn’t select “Women: Independence, Interdependence” for its Motherhood- Sheroes in Quarantine . The Zealous Team
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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
That’s it, I’m ready to put on my mask full time and resume my life.
MAY 1, 2020
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
Herd mentality makes more sense when you learn about how herd immunity works.
APR 27, 2020
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
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
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
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.