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Ruth Miller Drawings, A Retrospective

Ruth Miller Drawings, A Retrospective will display over forty drawings spanning as many years.  The earliest works will be large-scale near-abstract collages from 1961, and will proceed from there to her break-through still life compositions from the mid-1970s.  The exhibition will concentrate, however, on Miller’s work in landscape and portraiture of the last twenty years.

These last two genres almost merge in Miller’s “portraits” of trees, where individual Missouri oaks or Scotch pines are captured in a fullness and individuality of almost metaphysical intensity.  Graham Nickson, Dean of the New York Studio School, writes that her drawings “exude passionate sensibility with a pictorial intelligence to match.”  Nickson describes Miller as “a true painter of plastic fact.  She draws in order to question the fictions engaged in looking.”

The exhibition includes intensely personal, observationally felt portraits of the artist’s mother in old age, her husband, the painter and art critic Andrew Forge, and self-images.

Ruth Miller was born in Columbia, Missouri, in 1930.  She studied at the University of Missouri under Edward Denyer, and then at the Art Student’s League, New York, in the early 1950s.  On Tenth Street her neighbors were Esteban Vicente, Elaine de Kooning, Jack Tworkov, Early Kirkham, and Ronald Bladen, all of whom informally critiqued her work. In the 1960s she raised her family in rural Pennsylvania, while working on a monumental series of paintings of trees and teaching at the Philadelphia School of Art and Design.  In 1972 she moved back to New York and was invited to cover for Nick Carone for a year at the Studio School.  This began a relationship with the school that continues today.  In 1974 she married Andrew Forge and moved to New Haven.  She now lives in Washington Depot, Connecticut.

Miller has shown regularly at the Bowery Gallery, most recently in January 2002.  In 1999 she was artist-in-residence at Dartmouth College where she was exhibited at the Jaffe-Friede and Strauss Galleries (which is co-organizing the exhibition, Ruth Miller Drawings, A Retrospective).  She is a member of Zeuxis, an association of still-life painters.  In 1996 she was elected to the National Academy of Desing, where she has been the recipient of the Emil and Dines Carlsen Still Life Award in 1997, the Benjamin Altman Landscape Prize in 1999 and the Henry Ward Ranger Purchase Award in 2000.  She has twice been awarded grants by the Ingram Merrill Foundation.

Miller is represented in the collections of the Delaware Art Museum, the University of Delaware, the Corcoran Gallery, Bryn Mawr College, the National Academy of Design, the Hood Museum, and other collegiate, and private, collections in America and Europe.

The Exhibition

The exhibition, Ruth Miller Drawings, A Retrospective, is curated by David Cohen.  It is accompanied by an illustrated catalogue written by artist Kim Sloane, a former student of Ruth Miller’s.  The exhibition will travel in Winter 2002 to the Jaffe-Friede & Strauss Galleries, Dartmouth College, New Hampshire.

The School

The New York Studio School, founded by artists and students in 1964, has been housed since 1967 in a national landmark building, once the studio of Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney and the original building of the Whitney Museum.  The School is a unique institution which embodies an attitude of seriousness, dedication and commitment to the rigors of becoming an artist.  Complementary programs of lectures and exhibitions are offered to the public for free.




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