Artist Ginny Ruffner Reimagines Nature

Artist Ginny Ruffner Reimagines Nature

- in Art
Artist Ginny Ruffner Reimagines Nature

A photograph of a person holding an ipad with an image of a flower on it.

Ginny Ruffner with Grant Kirkpatrick, Digitalis artherium (Double art flowers), 2017, sculpture (handblown glass with acrylic paint tree rings), island (plywood, low-density foam, fiberglass, epoxy, sand, pebbles, and acrylic paint), and holographic image. Sculpture: 9 x 13 x 11 1⁄2 in. Installation view at MadArt Studio, 2018. Courtesy MadArt. Photo by James Harnois.

Shanti Boyle is an intern with SAAM’s Office of External Affairs and Digital Strategies.

Internationally renowned artist Ginny Ruffner does not consider herself only a glass artist. “I am an artist… glass is just one of the media I use,” she said in an interview with Nora Atkinson, the Lloyd Herman Acting Curator-in-Charge at the Renwick Gallery. In her latest exhibition, Ginny Ruffner: Reforestation of the Imagination, opening June 28, 2019, at the Renwick Gallery, Ruffner combines glass, drawing and augmented reality (AR) technology to create a multidimensional landscape that calls into question our very notions of reality and fantasy, of concrete and abstract, and of desolation and hope.

Imagine an apocalyptic landscape far in the future. At face value, it appears barren, devastated and hopeless. However, by combining traditional sculpture with AR technology, Ruffner transforms that seemingly bleak environment into a thriving floral oasis where glass stumps suddenly sprout mythical flora that have adapted to their surroundings in unexpected, beautiful and optimistic ways. The Seattle-based artist began her own creative journey, after seeing Marcel Duchamp’s painting The Bride Stripped Bare by Her Bachelors, Even. Starting with glass painting, she later evolved to creating larger glass sculptures. The turning point in her career happened after a horrific car accident left her without a sense of who she was. As a form of self-prescribed therapy, Ruffner began drawing. For her, “creating something, anything, helped me remember who I was.”