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Metal egret’s beak and torso against the sky.
Ruth Duckworth, Spirit of Survival (detail), 1998. Lewis & Clark Community College in the Monticello Sculpture Gardens. Photo by isra rene.

it wants to lie down, you want it to stand up: a letter to Ruth*

A letter written posthumously to artist Ruth Duckworth (19192009) is the most recent composition to come out of the editorial partnership between Art Design Chicago and Sixty Inches from Center. This letter contemplates Duckworth’s works and the practices on display in the sculptor’s first retrospective since 2005, Ruth Duckworth: Life as a Unity, organized by the Smart Museum of Art.  

Author Isra Rene reflects on the intimacy of Duckworth’s ceramics, as well as the artist’s philosophical musings and teachings. rene connects to the physicality and spirituality evoked by works such as Earth, Water, Sky (1968) that can be found on the University of Chicago campus.  

“The ungraspable cosmic tremor in your works offers a speculative lens of the mundane which attracts and disturbs me. The range of architectural attributes each vessel offers accentuates your desire to experiment and derive inspiration from materiality” Isra Rene, Sixty Inches from Center 

Read the full story on Sixty Inches from Center’s website.

Ruth Duckworth: Life as a Unity is on view at the Smart Museum of Art until February 4, 2024.  


isra rene

isra rene is a curator of care weaving webs of dreams tufted by our inherent connections of love, vulnerability, and care. 

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