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Kathy Ruttenberg
Tree Hugger
Stux Gallery, New York
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Kathy Ruttenberg

by Donald Kuspit

The material medium is sort of the unconscious of the consciously conceived image, informing even the most refined art with its raw properties, and no medium is more unconsciously significant than clay, for it bespeaks the earth that we unconsciously take for granted, the earth to which we are unconsciously attached, the mothering earth from which we are born and to which we will return when we die, as the Pieta tells us. The earth is female, as the goddess Demeter (Ceres) reminds us, and, as Swiss anthropologist Johann Jakob Bachofen points out, women founded agriculture, intimately cultivating the earth for the benefit of everyone, while men hunted animals to the death, despoiling nature for their own personal glory. Women cared for the earth, and identified with it, while men attacked and ruined it, in a dubiously heroic assertion of power -- symbolically power over women.


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