Approved: 16.08.2006

Ruth Spencer

Artist, Project manager, Lecturer / academic

Approved: 16.08.2006

Concepts : My work occupies the space between the recording of transient visual phenomena and its interpretation by the spectator. The interpretation of visual data is based on experience, but this leads to many transient effects of light and shadow being ignored or discounted by the spectator as visual interference. The majority of paintings and installations are based on direct observation, however some paintings are based on memories of locations at specific times of day.Between 2002 and 2013, I created a series of installations in which the image of light and shadow has been transferred from one location to a new space. The light and shadow was selected to make sense in the public space or gallery in which it was being exhibited but also to subtly subvert the spectator’s perception of that space.The Night Lights series of paintings is based on memories of the effect of street lighting on industrial spaces and the tilting compositions are intended to increase the unsettling nature of the image. In later paintings the source of light is daylight but with a reflective surface such as a mirror or water creating an additional source of light.  In some paintings such as In Paris  the mirrored surfaces create complexity and spatial ambiguity in the painting.My current work is concerned with lights in the city in particular Hong Kong

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  • Location: Birmingham, West Midlands
  • Activities: Higher education, Training delivery, Visual arts consultancy, Project management
  • Categories: Installation, Painting
 

Biography

Concepts : My work occupies the space between the recording of transient visual phenomena and its interpretation by the spectator. The interpretation of visual data is based on experience, but this leads to many transient effects of light and shadow being ignored or discounted by the spectator as visual interference. The majority of paintings and installations are based on direct observation, however some paintings are based on memories of locations at specific times of day.Between 2002 and 2013, I created a series of installations in which the image of light and shadow has been transferred from one location to a new space. The light and shadow was selected to make sense in the public space or gallery in which it was being exhibited but also to subtly subvert the spectator’s perception of that space.The Night Lights series of paintings is based on memories of the effect of street lighting on industrial spaces and the tilting compositions are intended to increase the unsettling nature of the image. In later paintings the source of light is daylight but with a reflective surface such as a mirror or water creating an additional source of light.  In some paintings such as In Paris  the mirrored surfaces create complexity and spatial ambiguity in the painting.My current work is concerned with lights in the city in particular Hong Kong

 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.

CV & Education

Solo exhibitions 2012 - Ruth Spencer & Caroline Hall, Granary Gallery, Western Park Foundation, Western Park, UK 2004 - Photoworks, The Crown, Islington, , London 1994 - Touched, The Bond Gallery, Birmingham Group exhibitions: 2015 Hinterland Rugby ,2012 - Elements, Quad, Derby 2007 - Virtual, Aston Business School, Birmingham, UK 2006 - Virtual, Ernst and Young, Birmingham, Birmingham, UK 2006 - What do people do all day?, Mailbox, Birmingham, 2004 - Blue Skies, Selected by Jonathan Watkins and Sadie Plant, Custard Factory, Birmingham 2004 - Espacio/Space, Museo Barjola, Gijon,, Spain 2003 - Repertorio, Brecht Gallery, Milan, Brescia, Rozzano, Italy, 2002 - Bookworks, Birmingham Central Library, Birmingham 1999 - Hidden Meanings, Apt Gallery, London 1998 - Hidden Meanings, Workstation, Sheffield 1998 - Take Five, Axion Gallery, Cheltenham 1996 - Three Cities Art Show,, Oxford,Custard factory, Tours Station, Oxford, Birmingham,Tours,France 1993 - 2nd City Art Show, Burlington Arcade, Birmingham 1993 - Art For Sale, Whiteley, London 1991 - Under One Roof, Midland Art Centre, Birmingham 1990 - Gas Hall, Birmingham 1990 - Midland Art Centre, Birmingham 1989 - Gas Hall, Birmingham