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Creativity: The Flowering Tornado, Art by Ginny Ruffner


Creativity: The Flowering Tornado, Art by Ginny Ruffner will be on view at the Georgia Museum of Art through January 4, 2004.

Seattle artist Ginny Ruffner uses glass and sculpture to communicate her dreams, desires, frustrations, and fantasies. The installation will feature oversized frames that incorporate sculpted items, such as chains, flowers, bear traps, hearts and arrows, with the focal point being a large tornado with wings. Each element of the installation relates to a different facet of the creative process; for example, the tornado with wings refers to the wellspring of creative thought, while the frame bound in chains represents the constraints people place on their own creativity.

The exhibition includes approximately a dozen of the artist's finest lamp-worked glass objects and bronze sculptures. These pieces are drawn from Ruffner's private collection ands provide a brief retrospective of her career. In conjunction with the exhibition, the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts produced a pop-up book to document this installation.

Ruffner received a BFA and MFA in drawing and painting from the University of Georgia, completing her MFA in 1975. Soon after, she accepted a position with Frabel Studios where she learned how to flamework glass, the process of sculpting glass beads and small objects with glass using a torch. In 1984, she taught the first flameworking class offered by the Pilchuck School of Glass and, the following summer, moved to Seattle. Ruffner began to discover a way to meld her education as a painter with her training as a flameworker. She began to see her sculptures as canvases for her thoughts. Her work began to take on a joyous, narrative quality that captured the attention of art critics and collectors alike. Ruffner's works of art have graced the covers of glass publications and been included in major exhibitions in galleries and art museums in America, Europe, and Japan.

In December 1991, Ruffner was involved in a life-altering traffic accident, which left her in a coma for five months. When she awoke, her identity had been erased. Ruffner had to re-learn everything, from her favorite color to who she was as an artist. Amazingly, she returned to her art only seven months after the accident that nearly killed her. With the aid of her team, she has continued to create her painted flamework sculptures, but with themes that reflect the unexpected turn that her life has taken.

Many artists have aspired to walk in her footsteps, but Ruffner stands alone among flameworkers. Her technique has inspired a generation of flameworkers; her influence has brought new respect to the medium; and her work is an unabashed celebration of life that invites viewers to celebrate with her.

The in-house coordinator of this exhibition is Ashley Callahan, curator, Henry D. Green Center of the Study of the Decorative Arts. This exhibition has been organized by the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts.

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