Ruth Asawa

"An artist makes use of ordinary things and makes them extraordinary" -Ruth Asawa
Last month Glennis Dolce left me a comment here in which she mentioned a favourite artist, Ruth Asawa. I had never heard of Ruth Asawa but soon discovered a great deal of information including video clips , podcasts and articles (see below), about this amazing artist and her life's work. Born in 1926 in Southern California, USA, she is perhaps best known for her tied and crocheted wire sculptures.

Crocheted wire sculpture
by Ruth Asawa
Photo by Aqui-ali

Among other works, are hundreds of masks that she has made over the past forty-five years of family and friends, documented in this short film by her son Laurence Cuneo. About the masks she said, "When I cast a face I know I’m just capturing a minute of a person...I don’t care about making that a technique. But I like the idea of stopping the moment of time" [link].

If you're interested in reading more about Ruth Asawa, the Oakland museum of California has posted this article on its website entitled Ruth Asawa: Completing the Circle. Leonardo Digital Reviews has an excellent online review by Amy Ione of the book "The Sculpture of Ruth Asawa: Contours in the Air" by Daniell Cornell, Director of Contemporary Art Projects at the deYoung Museum in San Fransisco and curator of the Ruth Asawa retrospective of the same name. There are also several good blog write-ups about her life including one by quilt artist Pam Rupert on Ragged Cloth Cafe and another by jewelry artist Louise Hill on Louise Hill Designs.

Thanks to Glennis for telling me about this artist.

1 comment:

shiborigirl said...

Another important aspect of Ruth Asawa was the work she did on behalf of early art education in SF public schools.

"In 1968, appalled by the lack of meaningful arts instruction at the elementary school her children attended, Asawa, together with art historian Sally Woodbridge, created Alvarado Arts Workshop to bring practicing artists into the schools. The program expanded over time to encompass, at its height, 50 San Francisco schools. Asawa's son, ceramist Paul Lanier, is currently artist-in-residence at Alvarado Elementary School where the program originated."

If you ever get a chance to see a show of her work- do it. At the most recent opening of her Contours in Air show at the JANM I understood that health problems kept her from attending.

You're very welcome Juanita!