Ruth Wallace

Ruth Wallace

Artist, Teacher

My work addresses themes of absence, memory and female identity. It explores the borderland between absence and presence and between the familiar and the strange. I often return to motifs of women's clothing and wallpaper to suggest a domestic context and traces and memories of people who are no longer present.

Recently, I have been working with old family photographs to explore the way in which
photographs shape our memories and drive a family narrative. The past impacts on the present through these memories and evocations but, like static interference, can only ever be an interruption, an impression, so the figures in my drawings often blend into the background or are cut through by it. A photograph is both fixed at the point at which it was taken and also open to constantly changing interpretation, dependent upon time and the understanding of the individual viewer.

My editing process, which often involves isolating the figures from their original environment, together with the shift in scale from a tiny original photograph to the large-scale of the final drawing, enables me to divest these images of their familiarity and allows the relationship between the viewer and the figure in the image to be manipulated. Whilst the capturing of a photographic image takes a split second, a drawing represents an investment of time during which the image builds, changes and accrues its own layers of history.
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Location Bristol, South West
Activities Adult education, Workshops
Artforms / type of project Drawing, Mixed Media
Tags memory, absence, female identity, traces, family narrative, drawing