Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Ruth Laxson: Hip Young Owl

Ruth Laxson, Hip Young Owl
ca. late 1960s, etching, 7.5 x 5.5 inches
I had the pleasure of meeting Ruth Laxson while accompanying MOCA GA’s Collection and Exhibition Manager, Shana Barefoot, on a trip to the artist’s studios to pick up some pieces for the retrospective. Her two studios, built by her husband Robert, sit close together in the couple’s garden. I was immediately taken aback by the stacks of works on paper that filled the small studios. Every inch of the tables and shelves were covered with drawing, prints, letterings, books, and sources of inspiration. As Ruth was going through the work that we were to bring back to the museum, she presented us with a small etching entitled Hip Young Owl. Posed with it’s leg extended out to the side and its eyes darkly lined, the owl is clearly strutting its stuff. This wonderful piece sets the stage for a collection that is full of wit, humor and the bizarre.

Born in 1924 in Roanoke, Alabama, the renowned Atlanta-based artist went on to study print making, painting and drawing at the Atlanta College of Art in 1958. She is considered a pioneer in the field of book making and has exhibited internationally. Laxson’s work is widely known for her incorporation text and using language and communication as a major subject for her work.

Over the past several months, the staff at MOCA GA has been eagerly anticipating and preparing for Laxson’s exhibition Hip Young Owl. The exhibition will house nearly all of Laxson’s hand-made artist books, as well as a vast number of her print making, drawings, paintings, letter art, and sculptures.
Highlights from the collection include Laxson’s artist books and examples from her God Doll series. For her artist books, Laxson uses automatic writing, pictograms, musical scores, and sketches of figures to create whimsical images that spill over the pages. Laxson’s doodle like images and playful use of printed and written text add a sense of innocence to the occasional darker subject of her books. Laxson’s books explore many themes such as God, religion, human relationships, war and communication. Laxson continues the theme of God and religion in her God Doll series. These works on paper express the artist’s personal thoughts on religion and how people create their own images of God.

A retrospective covering over four decades of Laxson’s career, this immense collection is not one to be missed.

Post written by Sarah Wright | 12.12.12

Ruth Laxson: Hip Young Owl. A Retrospective.
This exhibition will be January 25 – March 31, 2012

1 comment:

  1. Anyone who loves contemporary art, especially that stretching the definition of both BOOK and ART should not miss this retrospective of Ruth Laxson's work. It is all fresh and thoughtful, even those pieces that are 30 years old! What a treasure in the Atlanta arts community. Run on down to MOCAGA and imbibe the beauty!