Plants feed people and animals, clean the air and provide homes, but due to processed foods and urban environments, most people live at a physical and psychological distance from nature. The diversity of plants is becoming endangered by genetic modification and by limited selection of seed strains. Ruth Greenlaw scrutinizes plants as complex life forms and finds subject matter to draw and paint. The life of a plant may begin from a seed, bulb, root or leaf, and change form as it grows and matures. Before it dies it has produced the means by which it can live again. Ruth’s drawings reveal the grittiness of soil-covered roots. Dormant plants covered with ice become abstract landscapes. By layering translucent papers she tells the life story of common plants from seed to withered leaves. Whether she is drawing petals withering on a stem, seeds as they drop from a plant, or roots writhing in the earth, Ruth Greenlaw makes a visual statement that plants matter.
Ruth was born and grew up in rural Ontario but she has lived in British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Nova Scotia and China, as well. She earned a BA (Hon.) in Visual Art from Western University and has taken courses in art and language from UBC, Georgian College, NSCAD, BC School of Eastern Culture among others. She has taught courses in Watercolour, Chinese Art History and English as a Foreign Language in various universities and has worked as an art docent in elementary schools. Ruth has won awards in numerous juried shows and has had solo shows in St. Francis Xavier University Art Gallery, Antigonish, NS, and in the Art Gallery of Ontario Shores Centre for Mental Health Sciences and the Community Gallery of Station Gallery, both in Whitby, ON. Preferred media include etching, watercolour, pastel and drawing.