Ruth Willms

I am an artist who focuses on painting traditional portraits which explore the connection between family members and the break-down of this connection. I am examining this through depicting figures in very formal poses that suggest occasions which require formality. This formality of family, in my view, in some ways prevents a deeper connection between family members. In addition to this, I incorporate unexpected plant life in my work. For example, I use cacti in teacups because they survive in harsh conditions. This resilience acts as a symbol in my work as the underlying resiliency of unknown trauma that family members face. I am interested in the idea that one does not always know what is going on in a person’s life such as family members who have struggles but may appear to be perfectly happy on the surface. Cacti are not only resilient but it is also delicate. If it is overwatered it will rot and die, and this is symbolic of the balancing of relationships. The figures in the portraits are of her own family members and this personal connection with the sitting figure is important for her.

Not My Cup of Tea, oil on canvas, 3’ x 4’ 2019

Hard to Read, oil on canvas, 3’ x 4’, 2019

Metamorphosis, oil on canvas, 3’ x 4’, 2019