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Ruth Marie Tomlinson Installation Opens at Jack Straw

Ruth Marie Tomlinson Installation Opens at Jack Straw

: Courtesy of the artist..

With her installation Lost Long: a landscape, Cornish art prof Ruth Marie Tomlinson creates the memory we all should have of the wide landscapes of Montana.

“Memory is malleable” begins the description of Cornish Assistant Professor Ruth Marie Tomlinson’s installation at Jack Straw New Media Gallery, Lost Long: a landscape, “but that doesn’t mean it isn’t true.” What we remember is always in conflict with the elusive, quixotic ideal of “objective reality.” Expert witnesses in a courtroom may decry “constructed memories,” but in fact we all piece together a picture of the world that is a personal construction. What we know is based on our experiences, biases and observations. Two people can witness the same event and remember it differently; for the one, what is remembered by the other did not “happen.”  As Harold Pinter famously said in his play Old Times: “There are things I remember which may never have happened but as I recall them so they take place.”

The installation, which opened at Jack Straw on March 22, will continue through May 17. Ruth Tomlinson will speak on her work in an artist talk April 12. The artist notes that the Jack Straw show is the culmination of her residency there which included learning about field recording and sound editing. As a result of the residency, Lost Long includes her first audio component.

For Tomlinson, the memories she constructs in her installation are of Central Montana, where she lives and works when not teaching at Cornish. “In Lost Long the memories that fuel a long distance love affair with the horizontal landscape of Central Montana come together in a miscellanea of written words, gathered recordings, and reinvented visuals,” writes Jack Straw of Tomlinson’s piece. “The account holds dear to what memory believes; recounting days together, imagining reunions and making real what is distant.”

“Ruth Marie Tomlinson utilizes repetitive processes to exercises her passion for systems, for cataloging and for restructuring,” continues the Jack Straw entry. “The work touches simple quandaries we face daily: What changes? What remains? What is remembered? What is forgotten?  Resulting works are sited in architectural settings or within a landscape, facilitating an active relationship between the viewer and her intent. ”

Tomlinson is a graduate of The Evergreen State College and received her MFA from the University of Washington. She currently maintains a studio in Montana, Two Dot Spot, where she works and provides an invitational residency program during the summer months. As a professor at Cornish College of the Arts, Tomlinson combines her background in fibers, her knowledge of the sculptural form, and her use of space as a material, with her interest in fostering the creative process. 

Lost Long: a landscape, March 22 - May 17, 2013 at Jack Straw New Media Gallery 4261 Roosevelt Way NE, Seattle. Gallery hours: Monday-Friday, 9-5; also open during evening events at Jack Straw. Artist Talk: Friday, April 12, 7pm.


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