About Ruth Pastine

Ruth Pastine works with ideas about color, primaries and secondaries, and through her process of layering, creates beautifully saturated canvases.

Ruth Pastine, excerpt from statement for Red-Green Yellow-Magenta, 2000

When I began this body of work I wanted to paint the archetypal “Red” and “Green” paintings. Red and green are the complementary colors which possess the closest value contrast giving the greatest retinal vibration. After completing them, I continued to search through numerous combinations of these two colors for “nameless” color events. My investigations in any body of work is always to discover through my process that which I haven’t experienced before. My pursuit proceeded to explore how far red I could venture into green to chance letting go of the recognition of “red,” and likewise how green could I venture into red and still name “green” and lose “green” altogether. The Red-Green body of work encompasses many paintings most of which the colors “red” and “green” are unidentifiable. I wanted to let go of being able to name the hue of the painting so that the light of the piece became its signifier.

Each body of paintings works within a complementary color structure. These two colors represent the outer ends of my palette and a gateway for departure. They set the parameters of the vast arena I work within, and act as a springboard for endless possibility. My inquiry is to make boundless that which seems finite. It is within given margins that my search can be limitless. Within the scope of a chosen palette my process ventures to explore the physical, retinal, and perceptual phenomena of color and light. The breadth of a body of work is completely organic. Usually a transitional painting crosses the threshold between palettes which inspires the evolution of a new body of work and closes the previous one.

The paintings although visually seamless, are made up of thousands of daubs of paint. The surfaces are active, tracing the evolution of every layer of the paintings and revealing the resonance of an interior radiant light. The paintings are about the truth of perception which reveals itself in time.