Washington Studio School Presents Phyllis N Ruffer Aide Memoire

By Editorial Team on February 18, 2019
Phyllis N Ruffer, No One Bears Witness, mixed media, 2017. Courtesy of Washington Studio School.
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Opening Reception: Sunday, February 24 from 3pm to 5pm
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First Friday Reception: Friday, March 1 from 6pm to 8pm

Washington Studio School (WSS) is excited to feature Aide Memoire, an exhibition of drawings, paintings and mixed media works celebrating WSS student Phyllis N Ruffer‘s graduation from the Master Certificate Program.

Aide Memoire is about remembering. Ruffer writes: “We live our lives at breakneck speed, our memories fragmented. Painting can be a way to slow us down and make us reflect. It can be an aide memoire, an aid to memory. Like a mnemonic device, a painting can take us far beyond its surface to the memory of a specific moment in time, or indeed, to the memory of a lost home or lost community.”

The remnants of the lost Jewish communities of Eastern Europe form the bulk of Ruffer’s subject matter. In bringing their names, places and faces to the surface, Ruffer reminds us that they and their communities existed once, that they are more than the tragedy of their annihilation. Ruffer writes: “I paint to solidify experience into memory… Memory is fleeting and I don’t want to forget.”

Ruffer’s process involves a delicate interplay between deliberate marks and repeated layering, moving closer to discovery with each repetition. She says, “I layer and remove materials repeatedly until I achieve a surface that I am satisfied with. Subtraction or excavation is just as important as the laying down of paint or other material.” She uses her own photographs as collage elements “to create a connection between the photographs and finished work that is thematic, as well as visual. These photos, along with accompanying text, create another type of layer, i.e., a layer of meaning.”

Phyllis Ruffer joined Washington Studio School after 25 years as an attorney and land conservation professional with The Trust for Public Land, a national land conservation not-for-profit. She has bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Linguistics, as well as a JD, and is thrilled to be completing the Master Certificate Program at WSS.

The Washington Studio School (WSS), offers classes primarily in drawing, painting, and sculpture to adults and high-school teens. For more information about WSS, visit www.washingtonstudioschool.org.