David Ruth


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David Ruth
About the author

A connection to earth forces has driven my esthetic for the better part of my practice. There is a dichotomy between love of nature, being in the environment and wanting to participate in a dialog, especially in this time of climate change and ecological disaster. I use cast glass, a precious material, to express geological imagery, fragility and human impact on our environment as it plays out in contemporary life. In 2006, through the National Science Foundation, I was awarded the Antarctic Artists and Writers Program grant. The project was to take texture molds off the glacier ice and stone for studio use in my cast glass sculpture. Palmer Station, Antarctica was the most intense and crystalline place I have ever seen. We fished out gorgeous pieces of optic glacier ice from the sea for molds. This glaciology has become the primary thrust for my current work. The textural impressions I took in Antarctica, augmented by local rock faces, are the patterns for my geological sculptures and architectural installations. The most recent project is an architectural window-mural to be installed in a private residence in Vail, Colorado. The design features geological textures from Antarctica and more from the Monterey Formation in California, composited into a kind of fantasy geology running through two extra tall stories of the house. The glass feature is an exterior wall for the residence. Each of thirty glass panels is two by six feet with a relief rising about five inches. The patterns have been transformed by using a warm earth-tone, studio melted, custom colored borosilicate glass body which is resistant to temperature changes. The sedimentary layer chert patterns radiate across and down the 400 square feet of the design. Glass Sculpture Studio has been based in the Bay Area making large-scale sculpture for over 30 years. Often featuring bright colors or contrasting polished surfaces with rough-hewn or geological textures, the work has been featured in architecture, private residences, public spaces, including Tokyo DisneySea in Japan and Willow Glen San Jose Public Library and shown in galleries around the world. Currently, my work is featured in Traver Gallery in Seattle, Washington, Joyce Gordon Gallery in Oakland, California and Hawthorne Gallery on the Central Coast in California. As a student of Basque-French artist Roger Darricarrere in Los Angeles, I learned the basics of glass casting. In the late 70’s Ruthglass was formed as a company to color, melt and roll sheets of stained glass from recycled bottle glass, in Santa Cruz. Returning to California College of Arts and Crafts, I earned a Master of Fine Art in Glass with Marvin Lipofsky in 1983. On invitation of the Sars-Poteries Musée-Atelier du Verre, I relocated to the North of France to teach workshops and continue creating and developing cast glass sculpture that resulted in a solo show in Paris in 1989 at Galerie DM Sarver. With the rise of interest in glass casting and fusing, I was invited to teach glass workshops and lecture in Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Israel and Kenya. In 1990, Glass Sculpture Studio was opened in an industrial area of East Oakland. In 2003, I participated as an artist-in-residence at Silpakorn University in Bangkok, Thailand as part of the Thai-American Art Exchange. My hanging glass mosaic, Anacapa, remains as part of their permanent collection. Notable public artworks over the years include a fused and polished glass design for the Emergency Operations Center in Oakland in 1999. Three five-foot colored and polished panels form Cloud Dreaming was installed in the Oregon Health and Sciences University Kohler Pavilion in 2007. Tanana, a perforated stainless steel and Pyrex glass contour map of the Yukon River was installed as a security divider in Fairbanks International Airport, Alaska in 2009. In 2012, I designed and fabricated the colored Pyrex and stainless steel Levuka Fountain in an art-filled commercial and residential courtyard for City Place in Santa Ana, California. My approach to projects is to work with stakeholders to develop solutions to the artistic and design parameters of the community. Public art should be a distinctive place marker, working with architects, developers and public art consultants to amalgamate their concerns is of primary importance to me.