An Exhibition by Ruby Merritt
on view July 16- August 21, 2021
Opening reception july 16, 2021 from 5-8 p.m.
Ruby Merritt takes over the Book Arts Center engulfing our gallery space with an installation of new printed works and hand made sculptural oddities with an emphasis on why we need to care about the earth and our local environment.
Focusing on interdisciplinary artworks that bridge art and science is a formal part of my practice. This exhibition highlights a series that is about the materials that we encounter on a daily basis, such as foods and our natural environment. I have been on a journey of learning how to weave these materials as mark making tools into many moments of making a printed series throughout the day, as opposed to finding studio time on a routine basis. These moments are experimental and flutter with repeated techniques rich with characteristics of my heavily layered style with the tools consisting of natural mediums and organic food matter create patterns that are cycled into their next duty, to break down back into the earth as compost. This does not mean I am not in a studio space, it is a paradigm shift to understanding how moments of my day are ripe with artistry and I have begun a ritualistic journey to capture it visually in those collected moments.
The exhibition centers on a collection of prints that have been slowly added to, recording my history and moments stricken with the desire to mark-make experimental prints and drawings. These histories are nested into my artwork and increasingly more incipient as life around us is never slowing. The use of heavy-handed oil and evaporation in my prints allows my recorded moments to slow down.
Observable is a physical build up, mixed media is nuggeted and nestled in through natural processes, as pieces and fragments are chine collé or collaged photographs and nature-made found objects. These scrolls of my time mimic the structure of natural history but are not limited to works in process but a perceptible collection of places traveled-city and wild alike, and other artwork and marvels I have seen. This collection of prints becomes a part of my own natural history. Little moments represented with parts and pieces of other works take me back to a memory of a moment while offering an observable quest for the viewer, perhaps transporting them back to a moment that reminds them of something curious and wonderful they saw outside or from a collection of natural objects.
The actions of exploration, investigation and seeking curiosities for the senses is what moves me to create multi-media artworks that resemble under-earth & abstracted landscapes. What intrigues me the most is the interconnections between humans and the natural world. I have given myself the title of an art-ologist; this means my ology-art practice is to research, conserve, and share the objects that intrigue and spawn wonder. Working with the mannerisms of a scientific practice does not merely express my work it forges and constitutes it. Connections to matter, erosion, evaporation, solubility, and the earth cycles are a few natural occurrences that inspired me and literally produce my artwork. Nurturing chance and allowing the chemistry of the materials to do as they please, is the foundation of my process.
My motives are never those of competing or trying to up-rank nature, I seek to mimic nature’s process of physical change. Bringing nature-made objects and natural resource materials into the gallery space is pivotal to my goals of sharing the idea that nature is an art object itself and we need to look at our natural resource as being just as precious, valuable, and one of a kind art objects.
Ruby Merritt is a Buffalo based professional artist, adjunct professor and teaching artist. Growing up in between the Great Lakes the lush natural ecosystems of wetlands, old growth forests, and gorge canyons immensely influences Merritt’s artwork, research and interactive performance work. Merritt received her BFA, concentrating in Drawing and Painting from the State University of New York at New Paltz and a Masters of Fine Arts at the University at Buffalo, in 2013.
With a strong background of environmental studies, such as botany, geology, and conservation, Merritt has used those strong connections to science to further influence her art practice by exploring the connections where art and science collide and mix curiosities, believing that we need to perceive the natural world as an art object.
A familiar niche for Merritt’s artwork is the contemporary art and science, eco-art or ’bio-art’ realm. Producing work that is process based, using earth cycles, such as rock and water cycles, to manipulate and nurture her work. Printmaking, photography and bookmaking have become an incipient nesting ground for displaying and capturing the shapes and patterns mimicking and documenting nature’s visual wonder.