Remarkable Ruth Mountaingrove at the Tuxford Gallery

Remarkable Ruth Mountaingrove, a collection of works from local artist and activist Ruth Mountaingrove (1923 - 2016) continues through September 29th at the Ink People’s Tuxford Gallery. Featured works include Mountaingrove’s Drawing with Light series of photographs, her paintings, poetry and more.

Mountaingrove was always pushing creative boundaries as technology and society developed over the span of her 93 years. Her first book of poetry, Rhythms of Spring, was published in 1946, when she was just 23 years old. In the ’70s she met her partner Jean and moved to Mountain Grove, an intentional community in Southern Oregon, where they both changed their name to Mountaingrove.

Together, Ruth and Jean started the feminist commune Rootworks, and published WomenSpirit and The Blatant Image magazines. Photographs from this period are archived at the University of Oregon Libraries in Eugene, Oregon along with more than 20 hours of video archives.

In 1986 Mountaingrove moved from Oregon to Arcata, California. She returned to school, earning a Master’s degree in photography and art from Humboldt State University. At the age of 79 she earned another masters degree at HSU, this time in theatre. Mountaingrove was also involved with the Women’s Radio Collective and hosted a radio talk show at KHSU, Through the Eyes of Women.

After moving to Humboldt, Mountaingrove’s work shifted from documentary photography to more abstract and experimental images. Curated by long time friend, Cheryle Easter of River of Time Photography, this show focuses on these later works. In her Drawing with Light series, she created iconic images, often in the Ink People’s darkroom. They express a subtle, simplistic painterly style which Mountaingrove described as “like sumi ink drawings, or in some cases like paintings.” The show also includes paint and canvas works as well as selections of her poetry.

“Oh Love, I’m dancing
to a tune I barely hear.
Is this romancing?
Or is this a dance I fear?”
-Ruth Mountaingrove