‘Everything in-between’: Ruth Chase exhibit at Granucci Gallery explores gender, identity
A new art exhibit opens Aug. 6 at the Granucci Gallery inside The Center for the Arts. This multimedia offering by artist Ruth Chase explores a variety of answers to the question, “What does it mean to be female?”
Professional artist Ruth Chase spent two years asking that question to 30 individuals which culminates with “Blur: Unraveling the Feminine, Masculine, and Everything In-between,” with works on canvas, video and film. Chase explained the process: “Blur is a series of large acrylic paintings on canvas. It’s 30 interviews of men and women of all ages with a prompting question that helped fuel and feed and inform the painting.”
The exhibition includes paintings, a video and an art film. Chase said the exhibit is called Blur because it is really about the “role the masculine and feminine play in each and every one of our lives.”
The married mother of a teenage daughter, Chase said giving birth was the first time she really felt like a woman, and it began the journey of exploration for herself. Two years ago, she began the work to help her understand what it was that bothered her so much about the phrase or idea of being a woman.
“I was a tomboy … I didn’t really identify … It just confused me. It bothered me. I wanted to have this journey where I went out and asked other people what it meant to them, to be a woman. And I asked men that question too. It was really interesting,” she continued. “That question leads to everything else, which really leads to what does it mean to be human.”
Chase went on to say everyone pretty much answered the question differently, “It helped me realize on the outside we might try to fit into some stereotypes that we see in magazines or that we see in the movies or that will make us more popular, or sexy, or likable or whatever it is — as a wife or a mother or a coming-of-age girl. But on the inside, there is all this complexity that doesn’t necessarily reflect the outside choices.”
That conflict, and struggle and the polarities between masculine and feminine, are brought to life in this exhibition.
Asking the question to people in other countries and across the United States resulted in conversations around identity, and through those conversations as well as some submitted self-images, Chase was able to see a perspective that was different from her own.
“They challenged ideas of my own or ideas that I embraced more. The paintings have a combination of the conscience that came out of the videos or the film work and also women and men submitted self-images that expressed their own identity, which also inspired some of the work.”
Chase emphasized this collection of work is for everyone.
“I feel like after asking this question to so many people, what I discovered is that almost all of us are somewhere on the spectrum and very mixed. There are roles with masculine all the way on one end and feminine way on the other, but most of us are in this mix. What I liked about that is that I found I had more in common with people all around me than feeling like I am not being a very good woman.”
Chase moved to Nevada County twenty years ago from Venice, California and has been involved with several projects through the Nevada County Arts Council as well as the California Arts Council. An artist her entire life, she graduated from the San Francisco Art Institute and has made her living in the creative world.
“I’m not really good at anything else, and I am really good at art, “she said. Her extensive background includes work in oils, film, video and public art in a variety of medium.
What she loves so much about art, Chase said, is that each person has a unique experience.
“Art allows us to explore complicated topics without having a conclusion,” Chase said. “For me, I am only interested in the viewer having a personal transformation. I am not interested in what that is. I am more interested in provoking an inner dialogue.”
She added, “What I hope my work always does and what art does in general, is it causes one to start asking themselves all kinds of questions. Once we do that, we start knowing more about ourselves as an evolution.”
While the exhibit opens on Aug. 6, an artist reception takes place Aug. 20 at the Granucci Gallery from 5 to 7 p.m., with refreshments served. An artist talk is scheduled Thursday, Sept. 9, also from 5 to 7 p.m. The Gallery is otherwise open Tuesday through Saturday from noon until 4 p.m. and is located inside the Center for the Arts at 314 West Main Street in Grass Valley.
Hollie Grimaldi Flores is a Nevada County resident and freelance writer for hire, as well as a podcaster at HollieGrams. You can hear her episodes at https://www.buzzsprout.com/1332253. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
KNOW & GO
WHO: Artist Ruth Chase
WHAT: ‘BLUR: Unraveling the Feminine, Masculine, and Everything In-between’ curated Ruth Chase and Brynn Farwell
WHEN: Aug. 6 – Sept. 11. Opening Reception: Friday, Aug. 20, 5 – 7 p.m. Artist Talk: Thursday, Sept. 9, 5 – 7 p.m. Gallery Hours: Tuesday – Saturday, noon to 4 p.m.
WHERE: Center for The Arts, The Granucci Gallery 314 W. Main St., Grass Valley
MORE INFO: Visit RuthChase.com or thecenterforthearts.org
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