“Roller Blades” by Janet Ruttenberg
From Gatherings by Janet K. Ruttenberg (Pointed Leaf Press, 2013)
Photograph by Antoine Bootz

One of the most inspired exhibitions this fall was Picturing Central Park: Paintings by Janet Ruttenberg at the Museum of the City of New York. Born in 1931, this is the first exhibition for Ruttenberg, a printmaker and painter born in Iowa. After years of studying and training in Chicago, Ruttenberg and her family moved to New York in 1965. Central Park and its inhabitants became her muse approximately 15 years ago. Her large-scale pieces are tremendous, measuring some 15 feet in width. Working on both canvas and paper, and in watercolor and oil, Ruttenberg also employs both photo collage and collage with painted fragments. The paintings that resonated most with me are two that contain video projections, one of which is of the Saturday night tango dancers at the Shakespeare statue with a soundtrack containing vocals by her friend, Oscar de la Renta. Really a most fascinating experience. This intriguing snapshot of Ruttenberg’s work has left me wanting to see so much more of what she has created over the past several decades.

Picturing Central Park: Paintings by Janet Ruttenberg is on view through January 5, 2014