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Hot 20 2011: Ruth Laskey, Visual artist

The Dream Weaver
Ruth Laskey, 35
Visual artist
Photographed by John Lee at the Twill House in Glen Ellen

Regarding her own paintings as superficial disguises for the canvas, artist Ruth Laskey stripped away the pigments to focus her endeavors on what lies beneath. “I didn’t want to veil the canvas. I wanted it to participate in the work,” says Laskey, a graduate of California College of the Arts. She concocted her own paints and then applied them to linen, making sure the fabric’s texture showed through. But even this proved unsatisfying. “I was making my own paints but using store-bought linen. It didn’t feel authentic,” she says. So Laskey signed up for a beginner’s weaving course at CCA—where she’s worked in the library for 12 years—to learn how to construct her own canvases. “Weaving gives me an opportunity to be in a slow, creative, very focused space. I enjoy the rhythm that transpires,” says Laskey, who lives in Glen Park with her husband, sculptor Jonathan Runcio (her studio is in the garage of the home she grew up in). Eventually, the paints gave way completely to geometric weavings of hand-dyed string. Laskey skillfully employs variations in thread color to express light, shadow, angles, and curves (see part of her “Twill Series” at SFMOMA). After participating in the recent Lyon Biennial art festival in France, Laskey will be featured in an SFMOMA exhibit as one of the 2010 SECA Art Award winners. “I hope my work draws people in,” she says, “and slows them down for a bit.”

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