Meet the Artist: Ginny Ruffner on Her Work as an Invitation to Think

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  • GINNY RUFFNER: When I make work, often I'll make the piece and then I'll let it tell me what its title is—what its name is.

    I was doing a whole series on the concept of beauty. How do we define beauty? What is beauty? How do we make it? How do we share it?

    Most fruits are so beautiful if you really take the time to look at them. And think about it, it's a wonderful prepackaged single-serving bit of food! It's a really elegant design.

    There some parallel lines on the backside and those are the staff that holds the notes. And then there is the infinity side in front because both beauty and music are infinite, without end.

    On this particular sculpture, the operative word in the title is "evolution." I was thinking about the various forms like… there's a bra. The evolution of the bra. When did that get invented? How did it evolve? Why did it get invented? Did they wear bras back in the pyramids? Because you always see hieroglyphic images of women that have—I guess they would call them breast shields. Was that the original bra?

    The campfire. That was thinking, well now if we don't know a whole lot about prehistoric day-to-day culture, then we do find firepits. But I wonder if there was different clothing for males and females. And was there indeed fashion choices?

    The coat hanger is a beautiful sculptural element. It kind of fit with the whole concept of fashion, and a coat hanger is another one of those really cool inventions. That is... doesn't take much technology or much engineering, but it is a very simple solution.

    What I want my viewer to do is to think. And I don't want to tell them what to think. I want to invite them to think. Invite them to use their minds, which is one of the highest forms of human activity.

    From the elegance of fruit to the structural beauty of coat hangers and the evolution of the bra, Ginny Ruffner offers insight into the artistic decisions behind two of her painted glass sculptures, Inventing the Music of Beauty and A Girl’s Guide to Fashion Evolution.

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