Ginny Ruffner at work outside her Seattle, Washington, studio.
GLASS Quarterly Hot Sheet: What are you working on?
Ginny Ruffner: I’ve been working on my “Aesthetic Engineering” series for a few years now. These are my recent sculptures inspired by the extraordinary developments in genetic engineering, particularly the inter-kingdom gene-sharing between animals and plants. The combining of the genetic material of two kingdoms, as well as recent suggestions of genetic rationale for certain behaviors, imply infinite possibilities for new genetic traits.
In response to these intriguing developments, I’ve been creating the AES sculptures to embody “what if?” imaginary hybrids. Hybrids of entities that often have neither genes, nor the ability to reproduce.
The goals of the “Aesthetic Engineering” series are twofold — increased beauty, and the intellectual stimulation of visual thought experiments.
Ginny Ruffner, Floral Splashing (from the "Aesthetic Engineering" series), 2007 – 10). Bronze, stainless steel, glass, metal dyes, acrylic paint. H 27, W 39, D 25 in.
They include bronze, stainless steel, and “furnace’“glass sculptures, as well as smaller lampworked pieces. In the photo is my piece AES: Gene for Floral Splashing, which refers to a double-recessive gene, that, when it occurred, transformed the behavior of blooming into a trait which could be splashed. Needless to say, this trait did not survive, and the gene itself is extinct. This is a simulation of that gene in action.
GLASS:: What artwork have you experienced recently that has moved you, and got you thinking about your own work?
Ginny: The work that I’ve been most intrigued by is XVIVO’s medical imaging ‘The Inner Life of a Cell” that was made for Harvard University. Truly amazing. It makes me cry every time I watch it. Also a demo from a Tokyo Electronics trade show about the new technology involved in flexible OLED. Both of these are incredibly thought provoking, big time ‘what if?’ generators for me.
GLASS: Do you have any upcoming exhibitions where we might see your work?
Ginny: In the fall, the traveling exhibition of my work entitled “Aesthetic Engineering” will continue it’s journey with a 5-month run at the Bellevue Arts Museum, in Bellevue, Washington.
Besides 15 large scale metal and glass sculptures, a few framed metal and glass wall pieces, this show will begin with a 33-foot tall double helix of anodized aluminum DNA.