Ruth Spencer

Artist, Art historian, Project manager, Lecturer / academic

Concepts Video stills from surveillance cameras of commercial spaces have been used to create urban narratives in paintings such as Mezzanine and Break. In Bermingeman to Birmingham, a site-specific piece for Birmingham Central Library, I created a work which used 141 recorded spellings of Birmingham from the archives as a line of words which threaded through all floors of the library on the glass sides of the escalators to reflect the part played by the library in transmitting knowledge and the fluid nature of its transmission. The importance of light and shadow in enabling us to understand physical spaces we occupy is something I have explored initially in floor pieces and then in more encompassing floor and wall installations.The pieces are intended to relate to the space for which they are created in physical and cultural terms. The intention is to create light shadows that initially appear appropriate but undermine the viewers expectations and understanding of the space. In more recent work I have concentrated on images of light and shadow in painting and photography, particularly interiors and spaces that involve levels of transparency and opacity. Influences Aesthetic/Formal concerns, Culture, European, Career path I have supported my artistic practice by teaching and have acquired qualifications which have allowed me to do that. After completing a Fine Art degree, I initially worked in New York with a theatre group and on my return to England, I then completed a Postgraduate Certificate of Education at Warwick University and an MA in History of Art and Design at Birmingham City University. Whilst working part-time at Birmingham City University, I completed an MA in Fine Art in 1995 and had a one-person show in Birmingham. After this I exhibited in a series of group exhibitions in London, Oxford, Birmingham, Sheffield, Cheltenham and Tours, France. I have been the Chair of the Board of Birmingham Artists in 1993 and a Director for four years. During that time I liased with the Council over the conversion of a number of industrial suites into studio spaces for Birmingham artists. In 1999 I was awarded a Creative Ambition award by West Midlands Arts. In 2003 I project managed an Italian English exchange which culminated in four exhibitions in Birmingham, Milan, Brescia and Rozzano. In 2004 I project managed with Maria Gaete Gwynne, a Spanish English collaboration with Museo Barjola,Gijon Spain and Midlands Arts Centre Birmingham culminating in an exhibition Espacio/Space involving four Spanish women artists and four English women artists. Involved in the initial setting up of the National Federation of Artists Studio Providers an organisation dedicated to supporting the development of affordable artists' studios, and served on the board for four years. More recently involved in setting up an artists's studios in the centre of Birmingham, Birmingham Artspace, with eleven artists working in the city. read full statement

Location Birmingham, West Midlands
Activities Higher education, Training delivery, Visual arts consultancy, Project management
Artforms / type of project Installation, Painting