Our latest interview is with Ruth Molloy, whose work we are currently showing at cambridge contemporary art for the first time. Ruth is a Bristol-based artist and designer who creates lovely unique rustic sculptures and wall hangings in steel. Each of these are hand-painted with a beautiful rusted patina and then sealed with a satin finish. Ruth hand-finishes every piece so no two are ever the same. The wall pieces come with little copper spacers to hold them out a little from the wall creating a lovely shadow. In addition to her steel artwork, Ruth also creates paintings and limited edition giclee prints of her paintings.
How do you go about starting a new painting?
I usually work from a memory of my childhood that has some meaning to me. My family spent their weekends outdoors and I spent a lot of my weekends by the sea or in a boat on Lough Derg in Ireland. My Dad always had a pair of binoculars in the car and he taught us how to look, just to look around and notice things. Birds on the shoreline or a cloud on a headland.
When did you start making your steel sculptures and how do they relate to the rest of your work?
In 2013 I changed direction away from painting for a year. This was due to health reasons and from this difficult period emerged a new style of work that I continue to explore. I'm always doodling in my sketch book and I translate these doodles into a vector drawing for the steel cutters to use. My work combines digital technology and rusted patina which creates a style of sculpture that is both unusual and contemporary. My paintings of birds and wind blown trees influence the designs and I've spent a lot of time researching different techniques and finishes to produce something a bit different. The shadow is an integral part of the piece as it shortens and lengthens in daylight and looks stunning when lit by candlelight.
How did your art career get started?
I started my career as a graphic designer and in 2005 took the plunge to try my hand at painting. As I was familiar with having lots of projects on the go at once I still work like this and jump from designing sculptures to publishing cards and painting. When I get stuck in one I can slide across to something else so I feel I’m always busy and creating.
Which artists do you admire ?
At the moment I really love the work of Karine Leger. She was also a graphic designer before becoming a painter. Her work reminds me of the beautiful rock formations in the Burren Co. Clare in Ireland. My early work was similar in palette and theme but I didn’t have the confidence as an artist then.
How do you see your work evolving in the future?
In the future my plan is to collaborate with interior designers and architects to explore the possibilities of combining technology with traditional mediums in art to create something new.