Ruth Wallen

  • Pinyon pines succumbed to drought at Joshua Tree National Park 42"x54" 2018
  • Torrey pines in spring from "Listen to the Trees" 79"x49" 2016
  • "Listen to the Trees," screen shots of interactive touchscreen showing tree rings based on models of future climate, 2017
  • "Remember the Trees," participatory installation, 2018
  • Dead pinyon pines and juniper at Walker Pass Campground, along the Pacific Crest Trail, 38"x56" 2018
  • Dew Collector, 2011
  • postcards from Preserving Paradise: Suburbia, Sustainability and Climate Change, 2007
  • Preserving Paradise: Suburbia, Sustainability and Climate Change, 2007
  • If Frogs Sicken and Die, What Will Happen to the Princes? bus poster 9"x26"
  • If Frogs Sicken and Die, What Will Happen to the Princes?

I am an ecological and community-based artist, my work dedicated to the flourishing of the systems of interrelationships in which we live.  Originally trained in environmental science, I turned to art to promulgate visions for community and ecological health and well-being.
Much of my work is rooted in southern California.  Initially I focused on creating appropriately bounded relationships to place, while offering insightful, sometimes witty, critiques to the ever-sprawling suburbs and increasingly taller fences, be they gated-communities or the border wall.  In the last decade, trees have become the central figure in my work.  In California alone, over 150 million trees have died since 2010–ravaged by beetles, drought, fire, and a warming climate.

My work takes many forms including installations, web sites, artist books, performative lectures and site-specific work in an effort to foster dialogue, raise awareness, and advocate for a future where all species may flourish. Projects are based on repeated, mindful contemplation of place, extensive research, and collaboration with scientists and community activists. A focal point of recent installations are large photomontages, which as opposed to the grandiose sublime, encourage active exploration, offering a series of glimpses, incomplete views at a variety of scales evocative of the enchanted vibrancy of life. To help visualize scientific data, I have also created touch screen displays of tree rings based on historical weather data and models projecting climate to the year 2100 for both the “business as usual” (rcp 8.5) and enlightened government (rcp 4.5) scenarios. These evolving displays present extensive research on local ecology, shifting baselines, and proposals for local climate action.

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  • Artist Info

    • San Diego, CA
      US - Pacific

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