Body adornment for the age of overconsumption
Current exhibition – Caroline Springs Gallery, Melbourne
18 July – 29 October 2023
193-201 Caroline Springs Boulevard, Caroline Springs, Melbourne.
Ruth Downes reappropriates everyday materials and objects to celebrate their intrinsic beauty. All thirty 3D works are made from the repurposing of a broad range of materials with a touch of humour. Materials for the ‘wearable’ artworks have been gleaned from a diverse range of sources – from aircraft headsets to coffee capsules. Detritus from nature has also been salvaged to be re-born as a fashion statement.
Barely Wearable Exhibition is touring Eastern Australia in 2020-24
By June 2024, Ruth’s ‘Barely Wearable’ exhibition will have travelled to all three states and capital cities and a number of regional and rural towns on the eastern seaboard. Twelve galleries in all. In 2023-4 it travels to Melbourne, Deniliquin and Moreton Bay Queensland.
Ruth Keeps Calm and (Un)ruffled
COVID statement artwork is finalist in Art and Design Prize
As a finalist for inaugural Northern Beaches Environmental Art and Design Prize, Ruth Downes was interviewed by journalist Julie Power for a Sydney Morning Herald article about how the pandemic had “infected” artists’ work across Australia.
She is the first of several artists interviewed, who are trying to make sense of and respond to the challenge of COVID 19 epidemic in their work.
Ruth’s fragile neckpiece, a kind of Elizabethan ruffle, is made of 24 face masks. Entitled ‘Masking the Problem’, it includes matching earrings made from mask cords. Like many works in her currently touring Barely Wearable Exhibition, it illustrates the impact of single-use items on the environment.
About Ruth Downes
Ruth Downes’ portfolio of artwork has ranged from intimate, mixed-media gallery exhibitions to large scale, site-specific public artworks. In her hand-crafted public gallery exhibitions she has evolved materials into a new life with underlying humour and word play.
Her Public art – Commissions projects are also diverse in materials but focused on visual enjoyment and longevity in the outdoor environment.
Forty tea cups and saucers are displayed together as a ‘tea partea’ in this mixed-media artwork. Each handcrafted piece has a name and personality that reflects the diverse characters mingling at this public event. It won the People’s Choice Award at the National Sculpture Prize at the NGA. > More about the Tea Party in the Mayoral Garden
The exhibition is coming to Lionel Bowen Library Maroubra – 4 June to 1 September 2024
Lionel Bowen Library (Randwick City Library) 669/673 Anzac Parade, Maroubra, Sydney, NSW, 2035. (02) 9093 6400
An amusing cafeteria style spread of obsessively crafted meals made from the materials and/or tools of each trade, celebrating the often neglected work of the trades while playing with the language of modern cuisine. > More about Lunch for the Trades
In a number of public spaces, Ruth has created relevant, site-specific artwork in a wide range of materials and sizes.
View > Public art projects
Away from the constraints of commissions, Ruth enjoyed great success with sculptural installations, both solo and in partnership with Geoff Webster.
View > Sculpture