Over the past several decades Kathy Ruttenberg has moved across artistic media, working in painting, sculpture, animation, photography, and books. She has become well regarded for her ceramic sculptures, yet in her artist's heart, mind, and hand, she is a visual storyteller. Ruttenberg's ceramic tableaux vivante are complex compositions that tell a complete tale in a glance, preserved in color and form.
Emerging from New York's early 1980s East Village art scene, Ruttenberg's allegorical art contributed to the vitality of the new figurative expressionism that posed a colorful challenge to the dour minimalist sculpture and conceptual art that had dominated the art scene in the 1970s. Ruttenberg showed her work at diverse downtown venues including the Mudd Club, ABC No Rio, and the windows of Patricia Field's fashion boutique.
Participation in a 1998 ceramics class at the famous Greenwich House Pottery has resulted in two decades of creations in clay that have been exhibited at venues throughout the world including Stefan Stux Gallery, New York; Sladmore Contemporary, London; the Dubuque Museum of Art, Iowa; the Caramoor Center for Music and Art, New York; the International Ceramic Biennial, France; the 5th World Ceramic Biennale Korea; and the 59th Faenza Prize International Competition of Contemporary Ceramic Art, Italy.
Ruttenberg's works are permanently installed in the Tisch Children's Zoo in New York's Central Park and in the Mamiraua Sustainable Development Reserve in Amazonas, Brazil. In the artist's engagingly odd arrangements, a cast of human, animal, and floral characters have strange encounters and sometimes even merge. Just as Ruttenberg's art works have infiltrated far-flung corners of the globe, the stories they weave infiltrate hidden corners of the viewer's mind, brightening it with color, shading it with psychic mysteries, and taking temporary hold of our thoughts.