Ruth van Beek - PhotoAlliance

April 10, 2021, 01:00 PM PST

San Francisco based PhotoAlliance and Dutch artist Ruth van Beek kindly invite you to join them on Saturday, April 10 for an online lecture and presentation of Ruth van Beeks unique practice and most recent work.

 PhotoAlliance invited Ruth back in 2016 for a similar lecture, introducing her wonderfully enigmatic collages to the public. This year PhotoAlliance will host a new event with Ruth van beek, however, this time around van Beek will be joining the lecture through Zoom from her studio in the Netherlands.


Ruth uses the established visual codes of photography - a shadow, pedestal, dark backdrop, or gesture - to guide viewers into a belief in the incredible rarity or importance of the shown object, even when that object is unidentifiable. From a growing archive of found photographic material, van Beek arranges images in constantly changing ways. The primary source for her odd and playful collages are specialist books and magazines of the 50s, 60s and 70s. Titles on subjects including the proper tending of bonsai trees, the care of cacti, and the art of Japanese flower arranging—often found at thrift stores across Europe and the United States—provide rich material for her unique pieces.  


Ruth Van Beek is widely admired for her inventive and enchanting photographic collages, in which oddly endearing abstract forms take on a life-like presence. Her works on paper combine fragments of painted color washes and cut-outs with images from the artist’s collection of printed archival materials. With skill and playful intuition, Van Beek creates a world of anthropomorphic abstractions that teeter between the toylike and monstrous, enlivened with a joyful use of color and careful attention to how conventions of photographic rendering can blend fantasy and reality. By cutting and folding, adding shapes of watercolor-painted paper and forging visual connections between found pictures, the artist makes form, scale and colors reverberate, often to unsettling or comical effect. These overt interventions are never hidden; indeed they are central to the work.


For the lecture with PhotoAlliance, Van Beek will share selections from several recent series of work, including The Nursery, exhibited earlier this year at the Ravestijn Gallery, Amsterdam. In this series, Van Beek embodied her constructed figures through careful study of dolls and pictures of dolls. Mining her growing personal archive of doll imagery for inspiration, she looked for similarities in construction, size and appearance while also tapping into how metaphor, psychology, and the imagination are implicated in doll play.


To join Ruth van Beek and PhotoAlliance in their online lecture and presentation, follow this link and grab yourself a ticket for the free event!

March 17, 2021
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