An exhibition by Ruth Batham
Launch Party at Tottenham Social Pop Ups at Craving Coffee
Friday 3rd May 2019
Korean Street Food by Chicken & Gochu
Bar by Craving Coffee
/ Tottenham Social
Exhibition runs 3d May-2nd June 2019, Free entry
"Approach" is a selection of drawings, prints and paintings that fragment the figure. Working in different paints and on different surfaces the work has an archaeological feel, a gentle peeling away to reveal.
Ruth was born in the Black Country and grew up there. She has been living and working in North London for just over a decade. Although, she is originally a teacher by profession, a UCL Science graduate and previously Art Leader in the two primary schools she taught in, she has always been a maker at heart. Now - as an artist - she uses fragmentation of figures and colour interaction to understand our place in the world and - as an educator - questions how we learn, interact and communicate.
The show’s title is a reference to how we approach each other and how Ruth has approached representation of her subjects. It is an exploration of indecision and bodies. Bodies and colour. Is it about indecision? Or decision making?
The collection confronts us with strength and vulnerabilities of our bodies by coming at the body from an unconventional angle. It invites us to question what we see when we look at a person and how this changes through translation into painting, drawing or print. This collection challenges a secure identity; the figures give a feeling of vulnerability. The figures, drawn from life, lose their identities. The body is more than the sum of its parts; presenting parts of bodies allow us to build our own whole.
At a time when we are swamped by images of people and our own public image is constantly scrutinised it might seem a strange subject matter choice. But Ruth wants you to relook, to slow down your looking, to scrutinise the emotions presented in her work. She integrates this quoted idea: ‘I try not to compare my insides to their outsides because this makes me much worse than I already am.’
In this exhibition, the same figures are repeatedly cropped, doubled, shifted, layered, reworked to make visible the potential to change how we view them. Our reading of an image and of each other fluctuates daily; dependent on our mood, our prior knowledge and many other factors. Ruth exploits emotional tensions between the diverse bodies and their surrounding spaces; between advancing or receding colours; between reading the figure as a person in space or an arrangement of marks and colours on a surface.
We see only what we are ready to see, what we have been taught to see. We eliminate and ignore everything that is not a part of our prejudices.
We do not see things as they are; we see things as we are.