“When one tugs at a single thing in nature,
he finds it attached to the rest of the world.” John Muir
I pulled the quote from Catherine Ruane’s website. Catherine is an artist who draws and makes prints, and is one of the newest members of 515 Arts.
Her first solo exhibition opened the first Friday of September and will run one more full weekend. If you appreciate realism, nature, and incredible attention to detail, then this exhibit is certainly for you. Catherine includes both drawings and prints. Her subject matter including Palm and Eucalyptus trees, and various cacti, allows for outstanding use of texture, implied movement, and a wonderful play of lights and darks. Because these objects are significant to her, they becomes significant to me, to us, the viewers.
Catherine and I talk about her process and her presentation, she’s meticulous about both. She controls, what I consider the [almost] uncontrollable, medium of charcoal. A few of the drawings are BFK or Arches mounted on board and have no glass. The viewer can directly appreciate the rich surface quality of graphite and charcoal, and the subtle texture of a sheet of fine drawing paper. Though they are protected with a coat of sealant, she still has to accept the vulnerability of such presentation. I certainly do. In these few glass-less drawings I feel an ephemeral characteristic that connects in truth to nature.
Ruane takes time to mention the barbed wire fence, in the (diptych) drawing below. It’s the first time she says, she’s incorporated such an element into her work. It came out of the goings on concerning our border, the desert, and our lack of the general protection of life. This directs me right back to the quote I begin this post with.
Her subject matter is carefully observed and carefully rendered. The drawings are large and have presence. I am struck by the whole exhibition because it’s a strong representation of what I work to teach my students. Look closely and work slowly, I say often. Tomorrow I’ll be telling them this show is a must see.
Catherine is intelligent, sensitive and informed. We discuss politics, local and national. She observes it all, reacts, and responds. Her son quietly sits next to us. I can’t help but imagine he’s picking up good things.
Catherine teaches drawing at Paradise Valley Community College. Her exhibit Out West will be up one more week, at 515 Gallery, on Roosevelt Row, in downtown Phoenix.