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Artist: Ruth Shively
Price: $4,800.00
Medium: Painting
Ship From Hudson, NY
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Creation Date: 2021
Materials: Oil on linen
Dimensions: 30" x 24" x 1"
About the Item: Ruth Shively primarily draws on vintage source material for her paintings. She uses photographs and other print materials. Typically, these photos are originals from the 1960s and 70s, but also include contemporary models and imagery that evoke the era—with its iconic fashions and interior furnishings. Trained as an illustrator, Shively made a decisive turn toward painting as a mid-career artist. She remains self-taught in the medium, fueled through her own curiosity and experimentation. In Gathering, Shively exhibits new works in oil of varying sizes on linen, Mylar and antique papers—some with the notebook edges left visible and frayed as a conscious design element. All of her works emphasize the human figure—yet it is an abstracted rendering of the body. In fact, as she progresses with her painting practice, Shively’s techniques lean increasingly toward the non-naturalistic. Facial features disappear and recognizable expressions disintegrate within her simplified interiors and landscapes. Yet, this blurring, this lack of specificity, serves as a catalyst for understanding, for identification. A poetic paradox—this visual erasure actually fosters a more personal, intimate experience. Shively appreciates when a viewer can relate to her subjects, directly themselves or through a memory. She encourages viewers to tell themselves stories, or to envision the interactions and conversations that may be taking place within her compositions. The impetus toward storytelling came from her father, whom she describes as someone with the power to use words to create visuals. In her painting here, she depicts a group of ladies in vibrantly colored dresses out on the town for a luncheon; a gathering of friends relaxing in a verdant garden; a group of children sitting on a city stoop; a quiet interior with a reclining girl, book in hand. Shively delights in the strangeness of the scenarios that she chooses to paint: there is an ambiguity, a mystery within her sources. Her atmospheric images can be read as places to explore our nostalgia and our sense of being and becoming.
 
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