Ruth Waldman has been making art since childhood. She began her formal art training in junior high with painting and drawing classes at the Art Student’s League of New York. Later, she enrolled as an art major at the High School of Music and Art (now LaGuardia H.S. for the Arts) in Harlem. At Music and Art, her love of art was augmented by a love for ideas and academic pursuits. In the fall of 1985, she attended Oberlin College where she majored in art history and continued to study painting and drawing.
Upon graduating Oberlin in 1989, Waldman was awarded a Peggy Guggenheim internship in Venice, Italy. During her internship she worked in various capacities at the museum, including as a gallery guard, studied Italian and lived with a local family. Guarding the galleries, taught her that some art “stands the test of time,” and some does not.
In 1990 she returned to New York City and worked as an arts administrator for a several galleries and arts organizations. After a few years she decided to pursue her development as a visual artist more intensely. She took the obligatory waitress position, while maintaining a studio practice and taking classes at the School of Visual Arts. In the fall of 1994, five years after graduating from Oberlin, she enrolled as a post-baccalaureate student in the Painting and Drawing department at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. In the fall of 1996, she began her graduate work there. By this time, she was making sculpture in addition to drawings, and began investigating the themes of psychological and physical tension that she continues to explore in her current body of work.
In her second year at graduate school, Waldman made a number of mixed media sculptures that were under actual physical tension and she continued to work in that vein after completing school. Following graduation, she exhibited one of those works at the Contemporary Art Workshop in Chicago. In 1999, she won a grant that helped her complete her largest tension sculpture, which she exhibited at The Cooper Union in New York City in the summer of 2000. While in Chicago, she began teaching children, teens and adults at prestigious organizations such as Gallery 37 and the Latin School.
In the fall of 1999, Ms. Waldman relocated to New York City where she continued to teach, make art and exhibit her work. Following the exhibition at The Cooper Union, she began to develop her sketches for sculpture into finished drawings. The resulting freedom from the laws of physics enabled her to explore a greater level of fantasy, and to combine contemporary ideas with historical sources such as Surrealism, Renaissance grotesques, botanical and natural illustration, and decorative art. She has exhibited this body of work in a wide variety of venues, from arenas that specialize in erotic art to commercial and university galleries.
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