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Visual Patterns

Posted on May 01, 2015 in Donna Ruff , Escape to Create , May-June 2015

International artist and curator Donna Ruff participated in Seaside’s Escape To Create program. Photo courtesy Escape to Create

International Artist Escapes to Seaside By Marsha Dowler

International artist and curator Donna Ruff’s fascination with paper can be found in her family history. Her great-grandfather was a bookbinder in Russia and her grandparents were early recyclers of books and paper in Chicago. As a child, Ruff often played with shredded papers from her family’s business. As an artist, Ruff remains drawn to discarded books and recycled handmade papers for sculpting extraordinarily beautiful art pieces represented by galleries in London, New York, Miami and Berlin.

Meticulously torn or cut by hand, folded, shredded and burned, Ruff’s unconventional techniques create intricate visual patterns that defy description. Inspired by 17th century liturgical art, Moorish architecture and Islamic calligraphy and influenced by contemporary artists such as Kiki Smith, Ruff recycles the old to create astonishing new conceptual works deeply embedded in language. Whether transforming the front pages of the New York Times into a lacelike lattice or reinterpreting Freud through a copy of “Interpretation of Dreams,” Ruff finds beauty and meaning in the old and discarded, capturing the past in an enduring present. Her works have been exhibited worldwide and in leading galleries and museums across the U.S. including the Corcoran Gallery in Washington, D.C., Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art and Galleri Urbane in Marfa, Texas.

A resident of Santa Fe, N.M., Ruff is a member of the renowned Escape To Create Artist Residency hosted in Seaside since 1993. She gave a special presentation and artist talk in February at The REP Theatre in Seaside.

Further information about all of the Escape to Create artists can be found at and at Artists/

Visual Patterns