“Roses in January?”

“Roses in January?” October 2019 the beginning of a new body of work and the working title for Ruth’s next exhibition in Porto, Portugal march 2020. First a look at some background links between past and current thinking.

“Ponto Sombra/Connecting Threads” 2019 was Ruth’s previous exhibition at the Recordatorio Rainha Santa Isabel/AfredoBastos Coimbra, Portugal. Almost as an afterthought to the main exhibits, blue and white paper rose constructions were placed around the bases of the statues of Rainha Santa Isabel connecting the museum with the works on display.

The Miracle of the Roses The Miracle of the Roses. According to legend, Queen Isabel left the castle in winter to distribute bread concealed in her cloak to the poor. Challenged by the king (who did not approve of her charitable work) Isabel exclaimed she was carrying only roses. Suspicious, the king exclaimed, “Roses? In January?” Upon opening her cloak roses were revealed.

Roses in January?” 2019

A perfect blue rose is impossible in nature. . These blue roses can also inspire thoughts on contemporary issues with man’s relationship with the environment, for example the environmental impacts of the cut flower industry.

In this work the rose-forms speak about discord rather than love. Mutant rose-forms modified into strange disconcerting flowers, set against silk papers and delicate stitching where something is not quite right, but not always obvious on first viewing. Discordant juxtapositions of surfaces; pattern; holes and perforations recall tracks of insects degrading the perfect beauty of the flowers, in colours not normally seen in roses.

Measuring 195 cm x 58 cm the work is constructed from handmade silk papers, hand printed from laser cut wood print blocks with hand stitching and wrapping, cutting, heat treatment, layering and surface manipulation.

She walks these hills in a long black veil (Music from the Big Pink: The Band)

Moving away from the original legend but still wanting to reference a link with the night time journeys made by Rainha Santa Isobel across the landscape to distribute alms, cloaks, gloves, pathways, journeys, winding, twisting ribbon like pathways add a contemporary narrative to the new works, as does the ever changing and fragile landscape.

Late September in central Portugal. A beautiful morning here, the surrounding hills cloaked in an ever-changing, shadowy mist with a hint of sun trying to peep through: the quality of light on the landscape changing the focus on what is seen and unseen.