Portrait of an Artist: Ruth Kneass

I met Ruth Kneass at her "Giants" show in Matt Dick's studio in the Heath Ceramics Art Studios in the Mission Art District of San Franciso. Ruth's kinetic creations are mobiles sculpted out of polished wood, stone, steel, and intricatly tied knots. The shapes are all meticulously enlarged from drift wood Kneass has collected. Appropriately named, many of her "Giants" hang from the ceiling throughout the studio space, creating a forest of floating trunkless tree branches introducing natural elements in a very industrial studio environment.

Ruth has formal training and education from San Francisco State University, F.I.T. NY, The Crucible Oakland, and the Marble Institute of Colorado. Her work has also been shown in group and individual exhibitions from San Francisco to New York. Needless to say, Ruth is a treasured San Francisco artist and I was pleased to have the opportunity to shoot her portrait in this studio. What made this shoot extra special was the connection to artist, friend, and long-time collaborator Matt Dick. Dick is an extraordinary textile and fashion designer in his own right. In addition to capturing Ruth amongst the Giants, I was able to capture the energy between the two friends as they took a well deserved respite between the closeur of the Giants show and her upcoming Tokyo show.

“One thing about what Ruth Kneass does that often strikes me is her use of time-worn materials to create a timeless work of art. Obviously, this applies most to the driftwood and found objects. I think she doesn't try to perfect those pieces, they are beautiful as they are, so much as sculpt them into a state of grace, a timelessness that conjoins the handiwork of their creator (time, wind, sun and sea) with the artistic eye of their founder (Kneass). The mobiles can be viewed as clocks unbound by time, moved by a natural animus that doesn’t signify progress or time passing, but something removed from time and more perfect.“ - Kneass Boat website excerpt

Thomas Kuoh