Ruth Gendler

In a noisy, busy, fragmented world my intention is to create paintings and prints that invite viewers to hear and remember the silence. As much as I love good talk, conversation and language, I value the quiet where we can hear the imagination, the soul, the wind in the trees, and the trees talking among themselves.

My paintings and monoprints are inspired by the organic geometry of circles, squares and triangles; the lines that form into tree branches and letters of the alphabets and the routes of rivers. Also the curves of the human face, the arches in our bones, the shapes of leaves, the night sky, the bowls that hold water and air, food, soil, dreams, and qualities that seem invisible.

In addition to my art-making, I am the author of three books: the bestselling Book of Qualities, the anthology Changing Light: The Eternal Cycle of Night and Day, and most recently the award-winning, Notes on the Need for Beauty. Rather than try to define beauty or advance an argument or theory, Notes on the Need for Beauty invites you to reclaim and celebrate beauty as a quality of coherence and reciproicity, depth and radiance. Beauty is both precious and common, far too absent in our culture and everyday life and yet very available when we give our attention over to it. Because so much of contemporary society equates beauty with appearance, we have forgotten that beauty is one of the most essential qualities in our lives, profoundly ecological. I have come to believe that by attending to beauty and enlarging our sense of beauty, we are able to live with greater appreciation, engagement, wonder, and reverence.

In many ways NOTES ON THE NEED FOR BEAUTY is my 250 page artist statement.The metaphor that sustained me while working on the book is that writing about beauty is like drinking water our of the cup of the hand from a clear spring. This metaphor was illuminating because it clarifies about how life-sustaining beauty is. Like water beauty is ordinary and essential as well as extraordinary and magnificent. So many forms of water— so many kinds of beauty. Waterfall and rainstorm, small creek and ocean, the fluid cells of our own bodies. Beauty rinses our eyes. Beauty may move us to tears.

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  • Artist Info

    • Berkeley, CA
      US - Pacific

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