Artist Talk: Ruth Weisberg

Saturday, Oct 1, 2022 2 – 3 pm

1957 Sheridan Rd.
Highland Park, IL 60035

A Homecoming for the Iconic Artist, Ruth Weisberg!

Ruth Weisberg has broken through glass ceilings that held back many women artists of her generation. In fact, Ruth Weisberg and Judy Chicago were the first two artists exhibited at The Women’s Building, in Los Angeles. Their solo exhibitions inaugurated that venue. Weisberg has had more than 80 solo exhibitions and nearly 200 group exhibitions internationally, including a major exhibition at the Norton Simon Museum, Pasadena, a retrospective at the Skirball Museum, Los Angeles, and a solo exhibition at the Huntington in San Marino. 

Weisberg found her voice through what she calls, “traveling through time,” acknowledging that her family was part of a diaspora and a Jewish heritage filled with struggle. She put herself into her work, both literally and metaphorically, defining how interconnected the personal is with history and the politics surrounding it. She was emotionally devastated by her grandmother's "Memorial Book," which was filled with images of Polish Jews who had perished in the Holocaust. As her awareness of the previous generation's tragic losses grew, her story as an artist grew as well, the impact of history leading her to merge art, time and memory in a profound way. She found she could be a conduit between the past and the present, by literally placing people she knows into a setting of the past, and vice versa. "My work demonstrates an intense interest in the cycle of life, the continuity of generations, and issues of survival and impermanence."

While growing up in Chicago, Ruth’s father was an architect and her politically active mother was "the president of everything."-Ruth attended the Art Institute of Chicago for ten years before moving to Ann Arbor, Michigan to pursue her higher studies, where she completed her B.Ed (1964), after spending three years in Perugia, Italy where she earned a Laurea di Belle Arti in 1962, and MFA (1965). 

In a Huff-post article, Ruth explains, "My main preoccupations have been time and memory. I'm very interested in the artist's ability to travel through time." Ruth’s images take the viewer on a journey through history that is both dark and yet filled with hope. Her most famous works, Waterborne(1973), A Year Passes (1985), and Questioning Veronese (2011) highlight the themes of how the personal stories and familial memory which include her Jewish heritage and her role as a mother, document a historical narrative. The personal is political. 

Moreover, Ruth is acutely aware of art history and the struggle women have faced as both the subjects in art as well as the lack of access for women artists. As a result, she takes her love of Western art and places a more contemporary woman in the actual image in order to redefine women’s roles. The work on view includes unframed canvases and works on paper that merge painters from the past, Holocaust survivors, and those who perished, alongside herself and her family. By juxtaposing generations Ruth creates spaces that collapse time and space,

Arriving in Highland Park from Ann Arbor, Ruth Weisberg: Then & Now,  brings together the pivotal works that span six decades of the artist’s practice as a painter and printmaker. It features iconic works from Weisberg’s artistic career . Curator Caren Helene Rudman states, “As a member of The Women’s Caucus for Art, an artist, and a curator, it has been an honor working with Ruth. She has paved the way for so many women in the arts and has mentored even more through her prolific career as an artist and educator.” Ruth is a Professor of Fine Arts and former Dean at the University of Southern California Roski School of Art and Design. She was the Director of the USC Initiative for Israeli Arts and Humanities, and the founder of the Jewish Artists Initiative of Southern California. She is the recipient of many prestigious awards; some notable ones are the Printmaker Emeritus Award from the Southern Graphic Council International in 2015 and the Foundation for Jewish Culture’s 50th Anniversary Cultural Achievement Award in 2011. She has been the recipient of the Art Leadership Award, National Council of Art Administrators and the Women’s Caucus for Art Lifetime Achievement Award, 2009. Ruth Weisberg is represented by Jack Rutberg Fine Arts, Los Angeles.

The Art Center acknowledges the generosity of The Stamps Gallery, Ann Arbor for sending us the selected work. 

For more information, email or call the office at 847-432-1888.

The Art Center Highland Park has been a 501c3 not-for-profit arts organization since June of 1960.