Ruth Hunter works in oils and cold wax to create paintings which invite emotional and spiritual contemplation.
She is an intuitive artist. The product of a repressive home, drawing was her first language.
She works by applying marks, building up and breaking down, layering color over color until the imagery presents. Her subject matter is figurative. Her intent is to provoke a narrative from sense memory. Her use of color is informed by all her senses. She explains, "I never begin with a specific idea in mind. I start with an impulse, a gesture, a color that I react to emotionally in the way a listener reacts in conversation. The stories develop and change as I work. It's very much a conversation with myself.”
Ruth spent much of her rural beginnings on her own where she formed a deep connection to nature and the elements. “No one ever took a photograph of it, at least not one that I have ever seen, but if you were to use your imagination, there near the wet place behind our trailer home, a little girl, barefooted in white cotton covered from knees to neck with that black clay of the prairie land that lies under an East Texas sky, that would be me alright, a child in 1968 with the high cheeked face from a distant native heritage, and I could not get enough of it, and deaf I was to anyone who might object. I tell this now with a smile, knowing as I do, how little has changed, knowing how deeply enthralled I become with the tactile pleasure that comes from pushing paint around, and still, at the end of a day, I am covered with it.”
Ruth always knew she was destined to be an artist and by the time she was in her mid 20’s she was making her living with a brush, traveling to art shows and invitational exhibitions up and down the eastern seaboard, at last settling in Savannah where she was supported by galleries there. Over the next two decades she developed the mature style that we see today. And the story might have ended there if it had not been for one too many hurricanes. When Ruth was ultimately displaced by hurricane Maria in 2017, she journeyed west, landing in Portland as a climate refugee, grateful to start the new life that opened for her here.