Artist
Ruth Santee Stockton, California

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.

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    About The Artist

    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.

    Artist Statement

    My work is a mash-up between the inner dialogue in my head and found remnants of paper, torn out sketchbook pages and paint.

    Like Surreal cartoons, each work is a stage on which the drawn and the found come together to question our notions of self. Politics, sexuality, depression, feminism and environmentalism are all undercurrents threading throughout my work.

    For the past 20 years, paper has been my medium of choice. I usually do not begin a piece with a specific narrative in mind. The narrative of the work usually reveals itself to me. The Gestalt of finding it, embellishing it and refining it, is currently how I think and work.

    I live and work in a converted church located in the Central Valley of California. Life for me revolves around my studio practice. It's consistent and obsessive. My studio is the place where I can let go of the constraints that life places upon me. It's the place where I am truly myself.

    Artist Background

    San Francisco Art Institute
    Master of Fine Arts, 1993

    College of Santa Fe

    Bachelor of Fine Arts, 1988

    Press

    East Bay TimesRuth Santee Stands Up To Censorship

    Hear What Collectors Say About Ruth's Work

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