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Ruby Lewis

‘I Studied Fine Art at Chelsea College of Art and The University of Hertfordshire. I also worked in bookshops and developed my passion for magical feminine narratives. My inspirations are story and myth based around women, from ancient Greece to the work of Angela Carter and Leonora Carrington. I surround myself both at home and the studio with vintage fabrics and quirky antiques along with plants and flowers that are often included in my work.

I always start by choosing the fabric I want to work on. Looking though my collection and seeing what jumps out. Once I have the fabric prepped and ready, I work out how the composition of the figure or figures might work with the pattern of the fabric. I research and discover stories from myth and folklore to find a tale that I feel connects to fabric. I often use vintage figurative postcards as inspiration for the goddess like forms in the paintings. After that, the composition comes naturally as I work.

The fabric I used for recent work was a piece of 1960s screen printed wool. The colours were incredible, with deep pink, orange and purple. The single central figure sits in awkward contemplation, as though she is unaware her pose may be uncomfortable. The figure is resting on an antique ottoman, the viewer is not sure if the dog at the side is real or an engraving, but represents relationships and their dynamics, any relationship where there should be love and loyalty. The figure is inspired by Gula, who is one of the goddesses of the Babylonian pantheon. She's often represented in art on boundary stones and is usually depicted sitting near dogs. She was known as the great healer so perhaps, there has been a relationship that has been through a recent healing process.

 

In myth, everything begins with a story. My work reflects this and shows a wistful narrative that reveals an evocative feminine influence.  The story of our lives through folklore and fairy tale.

Drawing from ancient allegory while also exploring the role women have today and through-out the history of storytelling. Acknowledging this within the symbolic representation of the painting while visualising the potential for transformation. Placing goddess like figures contained in interior settings that reflect our different stories while at the same time evoking a dream like ambiguity. Permitting the viewer to recognise what we are capable of becoming. Using vintage fabric as a foundation to form a structure for each piece, while also allowing the pattern to build an extended metaphor between the surface and the composition. I use oil paint and ink to form layers of rich colour and texture, while simultaneously exposing the fabric beneath the painted surface.'

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