Tara Ruth

Return to Artist List




Artist Statement

As a homosexual woman building on earlier interests in what constitutes normal, I have often found literature to be a close companion to my frame of mind and a frame of reference for my work. As an artist, I am intrigued by the internal voice that is created while reading, something I identify as an external visual-to-internal aural experience. I wondered how this visual to aural process could be returned to a visual place where another kind of translation could occur? My attempts to respond to this phenomena are varied but persistent and began with a series of collages after reading several literary works by the writers W.G. Sebald, Thomas Bernard and Sylvia Plath.

As a kind of call and response to these authors I decided to literalize this idea of a “return” by using a visual equivalent of a sound wave, a mountainous horizon line. I discovered that by cutting along the horizon and slipping the work back inside itself a new place was created, neither inside nor outside, with no linear vanishing point. Changes in saturation created temporal shifts in the works as did “corrections” to perceived mistakes. Cones hold multiple references such as inverted candlesticks, physiological cones within the eye and as places of residence.

The fragments of broken mirror that appear in the work are collected from walks I take through the city and are an attempt to recuperate the “bad luck” of others by re-inserting the fragments back into the frame, simultaneously co-opting a viewer into the work. This correction acts as a reference to the nature of both Plath’s and Bernard’s work, but more as a gesture of an identity recovered than as place where identity is subsumed. Still, it is a fragment of a whole that depends on the viewer to shift it from object to subject to create a parallel universe in an environment that seeks to privilege not what constitutes normal, but rather the imagination.






Milton Avery Graduate School for the Fine Arts, Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson, NY

Masters of Fine Arts

Milton Avery Graduate Fellowship 2001


Sarah Lawrence College, Bronxville, NY Bachelor of Arts

Summa Cum Laude

Concentration in Painting, Literature, and Philosophy

Recipient, Sarah Lawrence merit-based grants. Worked 25 hours per week while in school.

Group Exhibitions


Annual Benefit Honoring James Siena

Group Exhibition and Benefit

Dieu Donné Gallery, New York, NY


Annual Benefit Honoring David Kiehl

Dieu Donné Gallery, New York, NY

Momenta Gallery Group Exhibition and Annual Benefit

White Columns Gallery, New York, NY


Per Square Foot

Group Exhibition and Annual Benefit

Dieu Donné Gallery, New York, NY



Group Exhibition and Annual Benefit

Dieu Donné Gallery, New York, NY


Water Marks /Inside-Outside

Mount Desert Symposium on the Arts/LandEscapes

Site-specific installation on the water

Mount Desert, Maine


Generations III

An invitational exhibition of emerging and mid-career women artists

AIR Gallery, New York, NY



Exit Art, New York, NY

Responses to the September 11th tragedy.

Milton Avery Graduate School of Fine Arts

Red Hook, NY

MFA Thesis Exhibition


Generations II, A Survey of Woman Artists at the Millennium

Invitational exhibition of emerging and mid-career women artists

AIR Gallery, New York, NY

Selected Curatorial Projects


Opportunity as Community, Parts One & Two, Dieu Donné Gallery, New York, NY

Former resident artists invite fellow artists to create new work on Dieu Donné paper

Former resident artists invite fellow artists to create new work on Dieu Donné paper

Same Sweet Dream, curated in conjunction with Martina Batan, Dieu Donné Gallery, New York, NY

First exhibition featuring new works on Dieu Donné paper by self taught artists.


Emerging Workspace Exhibition, curated by Patricia C. Phillips, Dieu Donné Gallery, New York, NY. Emerging residency artists from over the last six years present new work. Accompanied by panel discussion on artists workspaces.

Polly Apfelbaum, Basic Divisions, Dieu Donné Gallery, New York, NY. Lab grant residency exhibition featuring new works in paper by the artist. Online video interview with Polly Apfelbaum.


Food, Clothing and Shelter, Onisaburo Gallery, New York, NY. Surveys work by a group of women artists using the categories of food, clothing and shelter within the context of culture or religion to express concepts of domesticity, rebellion, reverence and difference. The show includes installation, photography, painting and video by artists Petah Coyne, Carrie Mae Weems, Phyllis Galembo, Suzanne Bocanegra, Orit Raff, Marion Wilson, Siona Benjamin, Debra Priestly, Suzanne Silver, Elizabeth Riley and Valerie Hird.


Immersion – Curated by Tara Ruth and Patricia Phillips Onisaburo Gallery, New York, NY. This exhibition explores water and ritual cleansing. The works range from artistic responses to water as the earth’s “circulatory system,” purification of the body, and the containers that facilitate those processes. Included in the exhibition are works by Allan Wexler, Lesley Dill, Carrie Moyer, Kiki Smith, Arlene Shechet, Hope Sandrow, Thomas Lanigan Schmidt, Frances Whitehead, Heide Fasnacht, Suzanne Joelson, Karen Shaw, Mary Beth Reed, Shari Rothfarb, and Martyn Ware.

Sacred Waters Site Specific Exhibition, Riverside Park, New York, NY. The Interfaith Center of New York in collaboration with The Metropolitan Waterfront Alliance & Riverside Park. Site-specific exhibition created by local artists to explore the connection between religion and the environment. Artists Lesley Dill, Nancy Bowen, Kelly Kaczynski, and the team Martyn Ware and Vince Clarke of the Illustrious Co., Ltd., Rotunda Gallery’s KidsArt and Parsons University Graduate Students, with artist Nathalie T.A. Pham. Multi-denominational ritual blessing of water by Hindu, Shinto and Yoruba religious leaders.

A Time to Rebuild: Daniel Libeskind in Exhibition, Onisaburo Gallery, New York, NY. Gallery Conversation with Nina Libeskind June 16, 2003. This exhibition looks at the finalist selected to rebuild Lower Manhattan and the spiritual and civic needs it addresses through an exhibition of prints and the architectural model submitted for the site.

Lesley Dill; Tongues on Fire; Visions and Ecstasy, Onisaburo Gallery, New York, NY. Exhibition and Panel Discussion. A multitiered project Dill created as an artist-in-residence while at the Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art in North Carolina.

“The Word that Means” – Panel Discussion with Lesley Dill, Professor of Art History Erika Doss, Reverend John Mendez, Rabbi Craig Miller, and Islamic Professor R. Bayoumi


Objects of Joy II, Co –curated with Alexandra Munroe & Edward Gomez, Onisaburo Gallery, New York, NY. This exhibition brings together works from different time periods and cultural backgrounds to consider the nature of joy in painting, sculpture, jewelry and works on paper.

Tantric Connections, Co –curated with Alexandra Munroe (Director, Japan Society Gallery), Onisaburo Gallery, New York, NY. An Exhibition of Contemporary and Ancient Works: Nora Aslan, Tibetan Tankas, Indian Tantric works on Paper and Sound Art by Margaret de Wys.


“Double or Nothing, Mimicry in the Art of Contemporary Handmade Paper,” Handpapermaking Magazine, January 2010

“A Meditation on Contradictions”, Exhibition Review, Pulp Newsletter, 2007

Employment Experience

2005 – 2008
Interim Executive Director/Deputy Director/Director of Exhibitions
Dieu Donné Papermill, NY, NY
The Deputy Director for nonprofit artist’s residency and gallery. Responsible for developing strategies to reach the annual fundraising targets of the organization with the Board, design annual benefit, build relationships with foundations, corporate and individual donors and report on institutional progress. Director of Exhibitions, developed and oversaw exhibitions program, including designing curatorial direction of the organization.

Development Director/Curator
Dieu Donné Papermill, NY, NY
The Development Director for nonprofit artist’s residency and gallery. Responsible for developing strategies and fundraising for capital campaign, maintaining annual fundraising targets including developing grant proposals, foundation, corporate and individual donor relations.

2002 – 2004
Curator/Arts & Culture Program Director
Interfaith Center of New York, New York, NY
Curator and Program Director for educational nonprofit organization managing cross-cultural programming. Responsible for all aspects of curating and program development, design and outreach for the Arts & Culture department, creating and organizing more than 14 exhibitions and 50 public events. Responsible for creating new models for exhibitions, focusing on contemporary and historical perspectives. Program Director responsible for creating integrated and relevant programming, including symposiums, panels, lectures, poetry readings and performances with distinguished artists, curators, educators and art critics. Re-focused the public programming towards thematic and current events-sensitive topics. Guests have included Patricia Phillips, Nina Felshin, Saul Ostrow, Lynne Tillman, Tony Kushner, Phillip Glass, Mira Schor and others.

Visiting Artist/Curator
Mount Desert, ME
Weeklong program focusing on the intersections between art and science.

2001 – 2002
Post-Graduate Teaching Assistant
Foundation, Advanced Painting, School of Visual Arts, New York, NY
Team-taught with Fine Arts Professor
Graduate Seminar, New York University, New York, NY
Team-taught with Fine Arts Professor