BankRI Turks Head Gallery:
“Watercolors, Prints and Assemblages by Ruth Emers,
August 6 through September 2, 2015.
There will be a Gallery Night reception on August 20 from 5 to 8:30 pm with live music by guitarist Mark Armstrong and light refreshments.
Exhibit hours are Monday through Wednesday 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Thursday and Friday 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
MEET THE ARTIST – RUTH EMERS
Across from the Blackstone River, with a killer view of Pawtucket’s Art Deco City Hall, rests the home studio of sculptor Ruth Emers. Born in Brooklyn, Emers has quietly been making figurative sculpture for almost 60 years now.
The walls and floors of Emers’ home and studio glow with the paintings and rugs of her mother, Leah Jacoby. But the lion’s share of the artwork is sculpture by Emers. There are masks carved from an old soapstone sink. Ceramic figures inspired by primitive art line an alcove above a closet. Carved wooden sculptures are tucked into every corner. But Emers’ work area sparkles with new endeavors – watercolor, prints and assemblages.
Emers dives right into the unfamiliar territory of two dimensions, always excited to try her hand at different mediums. The colorful watercolors are of nature, lakes surrounded by forests. The prints are figurative, depicting people, cats and dogs with simple bold lines and a strong knowledge of the figure born from her many years of making figurative sculpture. The assemblages are joyful celebrations of the discarded.
“I love doing assemblages – they come alive to me,” Emers says. “I’ve always collected a lot of stuff – all sorts of things like rusty nails. I look at these pieces of junk I pick up and immediately I see something.” She works with the disparate objects, and as she works, she magically transforms them into something else entirely. Metal el brackets become fish scales, discarded barn wood turns into a bird of prey or a kingfisher, and the aforementioned rusty nails are somehow made over into flowing copper-colored hair.
Emers took her first course in sculpture in the 1950s in Great Neck, New York from none other than the world-renown sculptor Louise Nevelson. Nevelson was just beginning to gain fame as a sculptor and supplemented her income by teaching. Emers was lucky enough to be at the right place at the right time.
With such an auspicious start to her career, Emers worked hard and continued sculpting. She got married and moved to Providence, earning a MAT in Art from Brown University, while raising three children. She traveled extensively and took classes in sculpture all over the world, even as she continued to make sculpture from stone, wood, clay, resin and fiberglass.
Emers credits her artistic success and determination to her upbringing in Seagate, a community just west of Coney Island, during the Depression years. “My mother was a painter and a designer,” Emers explains, “and art surrounded and inspired me in my childhood.”
In 2012, Emers enjoyed a quiet moment of recognition when she was selected to be part of the Best Of Presents America Sculpture Artists Volume III, a national publication about American artists. She is a longtime member of the Providence Art Club and the New England Sculptors Association. Emers has exhibited all over New England and New York.
An ardent environmentalist and a practitioner of Tibetan Buddhism, Emers truly enjoys the creative process. “In the studio, my work is an intensely personal and spiritual experience … and a great adventure,” Emers says in her artist’s statement. “It gives my life purpose and pleasure.”
For more information, contact www.bankri.com or call 456-5015, ext 1330.