Ruth Miemczyk

Paintings and Collage

Ruth Miemczyk, Winter Moons, oil on canvas, 183cm x 228cm, 2003

Ruth Miemczyk, Winter Moons, oil on canvas, 183cm x 228cm, 2003

Saturday 26th September – Sunday 31st October 2015
Thursdays – Saturdays
11.00am – 4.00pm and by appointment
Admission is free

You are invited to the opening of this exhibition on Friday 25th September from 6.30pm – 9.30pm.

Ruth Miemczyk in conversation with curator Lara Goodband: Saturday 26th September, 2.00pm – 3.00pm. Admission is free.


‘The start of a picture can often be quite ambiguous. I can work energetically, conscious of the physicality of movement, the deliberateness of a gesture. Keeping an openness and fluidity in my working process enables me to become responsive to the unintentional or surprise element that might suddenly come into being’.
Ruth Miemczyk.

Painting is a process of constantly looking, changing, contemplating, and discovering for Ruth Miemczyk. While she may not be certain of how a painting begins, or where it will lead her, she can recognise when it ‘works’ and should be left alone.

The artist discusses painting as a visual language to be experienced through colour, shape, scale and a sense of space arrived at through the visible process and gestural act of painting. Her paintings take shape through a distillation of their visual language and a process of adding, eliminating, changing the balance, weight and dynamics until she is close to being satisfied with the resulting work. This may be a lengthy process and Ruth admits that she will spend far more time looking at and thinking about the work, than physically painting.

Painting is a necessary and continual process for Ruth Miemczyk, like breathing, which is felt in the recurrence of certain shapes and gestures; notably the geometric shapes of diamonds, circles, squares and triangles. That she might have ‘finished with’ any single painting is perhaps misleading, as we can retrospectively trace similar configurations across works spanning a considerable period of time. It’s as if she has to look again and revisit a proposition or idea, but the resulting paintings emerge as persistent, elusive and wayward as memory.

If Ruth maintains ‘an openness and fluidity’ within her working process that is not the same as a lack of rigour and discipline. Ruth, like many of the best artists, manages to create a sense of clarity without destroying the delicate balance which must allow for ambiguity and expansiveness without which their work would lack poetic spark. Her use of colour, for example, may seem quite restricted at first sight but offers up nuances and depths the more we look at the paintings.

While Ruth talks about her paintings purely in terms of their abstract qualities of gesture, shape and colour, the viewer may be drawn to look for associative elements and it’s certainly possible to see how the paintings relate to landscape or architectural structures or spaces. That’s not to say that the paintings are ‘about’ landscape or architecture, or even a specific place or event. Occasionally Ruth will give a title to a painting such as ‘Winter Moons’ and while this suggest an atmospheric reading of the work it equally refers to the archetypal geometry and colour within the painting. We all absorb and, inevitably, are influenced by our visible and physical environment. This tends to be accumulative and associative rather than linear or narrative. Painting is a perfect medium to uncover sensibilities that many of us share and the best artists, like Ruth Miemczyk, can express with keener perception than most of us.

Ruth Miemczyk lives and works in Scarborough. She studied Fine Art at Barnsley School of Arts and Crafts and then at Central School of Arts and Design and Goldsmiths College, London. She has exhibited widely across the UK, including as part of the ‘Art in Hospitals Scheme’ during the 1980s. Ruth has strengthened her connections more recently in Poland, where she has participated in several residencies and group shows as well as presenting two major solo exhibitions in Lodz in 2006 and Gorlice in 2003. This exhibition is her second solo showing in Yorkshire following her exhibition at Cannon Hall Museum, Barnsley in 2006.