RuthSantee2PuppetsGrayRuth Santee

Ruth Santee is an Oakland based artist whose work has been exhibited in museum, non-profit and gallery venues. She received a BFA from the College of Santa Fe, NM and an MFA from the San Francisco Art Institute. Santee is a recipient of the Cadogan Fellowship Award from the San Francisco Foundation and a recipient of a commission from the San Francisco Arts Commission. Santee’s work is in the permanent collection of the University of Oregon and the David Brower Center, Berkeley CA. Her work has been reviewed in publications including the Los Angeles Times, Oakland Tribune and the San Francisco Chronicle.

Santee is the director and co/owner of Transmission Gallery in Oakland, CA. Transmission Gallery is a contemporary gallery located in the heart of the Oakland art scene that exhibits work by local and regional artists. Transmission Gallery is a member of the Oakland Art Murmur.

She has taught at the California College of Art Extended Ed Program, UC Davis and Bakersfield College. Currently she is a tenured professor at San Joaquin Delta College in Stockton CA. 

As an owner of Transmission Gallery in Oakland, California, Santee fosters the work of a number of artists, excited by opportunity to present the work in a contemporary setting. As a professor she motivates her students with passion and conviction, educating them about the fundamentals of art and dedication to their work. As an artist, Ruth focuses on paintings of objects, recognizable and likely a part of our everyday lives.

The non-moving, non-living ‘still life’ has a centuries old tradition in fine art.  Historically, objects painted, i.e. flowers, bottles, fruit, candles, skulls, often reflected a message of moral and religious importance.

Ruth Santee’s still life paintings are observational explorations of common banal objects; their structure, color, texture, proportions and the shadows they cast, are all significant elements in individual works. Each painting begins with the choice of an object and a corresponding background/environment color. The object choices are based on many factors, most significant of which is the commonness of the object without being a “cliché”. Of the objects depicted, some I own, while others are found or borrowed.

As significant as the object choice is, the cast shadow it creates is equally important. The shadow serves a dual purpose of creating depth in the painting, but also as the allegorical dual self.  Cast shadows are the figure/object’s twin. That twin is the second self that holds unrealized potential.

The study of objects that may seem superficially unimportant, have led Ruth to paint paintings that are metaphoric commentary on contemporary life and relationships.

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