Widow with ChinaRuth Santee
Collage of paper and found labels with drawn elements on Masonite board
Natural wood edges
Ready to hang
Signed on front and back
11.75 " h x 11.75 " w x 2 " d |1 lbs. 9 oz.
A surreal still life with a twist. The black widow seems empowered climbing on the cup and saucer. Black widows, though venomous, are regal and elegant. Both the china and the widow are collaged from old adhesive labels the artist found. The spider's abdomen is raised off of the panel. Ruth Santee describes making art like putting a puzzle together, but without all of the puzzle pieces in front of her when she begins the process. Each artwork starts out as a mystery that she solves by transforming a pile of "stuff" into a coherent visual narrative. Ruth collects the objects that most people discard without a second thought - junk mail, labels from medical and food containers, and old children’s books to name a few - and morphs them into timely and playful narratives.
Ruth Santee is known for her surreal collages made of junk mail, tax documents, and mass produced labels. She creates eccentric portraits of humans and insects to explore the themes of politics, feminism and environmentalism. She draws inspiration from artist Louise Bourgeois for her feminism and the recycling of personal materials in her work; James Ensor for his politics and dark humor; and Francis Bacon for the human spirit. Ruth lives and works from a converted church in Stockton. She earned her MFA from SFAI, and when she’s not making art, Ruth teaches printmaking and co-directs a gallery in Oakland. Her work is in the permanent collections of the University of Oregon, the US Forestry Services and the David Brower Center in Berkeley.