Ruth Claxton: Spring Suite 2011
Ruth Claxton creates dynamic sculptural environments that employ a diverse range of tactics to question perception. Claxton assembles large, elaborate, multi-dimensional structures from metal hoops, circular mirrors, and colored glass disks. These structures are site-responsive and simultaneously serve to construct the viewer’s interaction with the exhibition space and provide an environment for the figurines nestled within them. The multiple reflective surfaces engender an instability that belies the sturdy metal structures that support them.
Claxton seeks out collectible porcelain figurines that are common in many English homes. These tiny sculptures depict a variety of leisure related subjects from birds to ballerinas; some appear to have stepped out of 18th century paintings of fêtes galantes. Through the application of beads, buttons, sequins, ribbons, blown glass, and other materials, Claxton eradicates the figures’ sight. The choice of materials makes this blinding playful rather than sinister, and Claxton purports that the figures portrayed are enraptured, not traumatized by their interrupted vision. This sense of disorientation is increased when the figurines are placed within Claxton’s maze-like structures.
Claxton is creating a new room-sized installation in one of SITE’s 4,000 square foot galleries for this exhibition, the artist’s first solo show in the United States. This work, Synthetic Worlds, represents an expansion of the artist’s current experiments with larger scale. This installation will cascade from the ceiling, activating the entire gallery space.
Claxton has had solo shows at Spike Island (Bristol, UK) and Ikon Gallery (Birmingham, UK) and work included in Undone, Henry Moore Institute (Leeds, UK), Rework-remodel, National Glass Centre (Sunderland, UK) andKnown Unknowns, Gallery Loop (Seoul, Korea). She recently completed a major public commission in Weston Supermare, UK. She is one of the founding directors of Eastside Projects and lives and works in Birmingham (UK).