She is an American sculptor and even an educator. This is none other than Ruth Asawa. Born in 1926, her fine piece of works is what brought her in the limelight. Every popular artist has got some signature style and Ruth is no different! She is known for her extensive wire sculptures that challenge the conventional notions of materials and forms. Quite technical, isn’t it? In simple words, she just creates masterpieces with wires that are… unique!
Ruth began her apprentice in arts while she was an intern in the camps for Japanese Americans in Santa Anita, California. She eventually made her way to Black Mountain College and started to work in building her name through her creations. Her time at the college was the catalyst to her career since it is mainly attributed to her development as an artist. She was influenced by her teachers, Josef Albers and Buckminster Fuller, which led her to exploit shapes, mathematics and contortions in her artworks.
Ruth Asawa became known around the world for her works and she began exposing her montage in various expos in the early 1950s. 1965 was an important year for Ruth since she organised a solo exhibition along with Walter Hopps at Pasadena Art Museum. She continued to practice her passion for wire sculpture until she passed away in 2013.
Ruth Asawa’s style is predominantly crocheted wire sculptures. She learnt the basic technique while in Toluca, Mexico. According to reports, the villagers of the remote area use a similar technique to make baskets. Ruth’s artworks might look like weaving with iron wires, but she did not study weaving, neither did she use fiber materials in her creations.
In the late 1960s, she began experimenting with new facets of her work, creating geometric and abstract forms. Her work gain prominence, thanks to the masterpiece she mounted at David Zwirner Gallery. She was chosen to feature in annual exhibitions at the Whitney Museum of American Art and in Sao Paulo Art Biennial.
During her final days, her mastery of wire sculpture reached to such an extent that she dominated contemporary art. She was ahead of her time in understanding how sculptures could function and demonstrate space.
Ruth did not limit herself to her wires only. She worked on the famous Mermaid Fountain in Ghirardelli Square. In Union Square, Ruth along with 200 school children joined hains to mould hundreds of images of San Francisco in the dough. She then casted it in iron, giving birth to the famous San Francisco Fountain. Her involvement with fountains got her the nickname, Fountain Lady!
Ruth Asawa is still a major inspiration for many modern sculptors and artists around the world. Whether it is for her work or her style, she continues to be a model. On your side, have you developed a style when it comes to art? Why not take inspiration from Ruth?
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