Ruth Root: Old, Odd, and Oval

November, 2015

Image: Ruth Root, Untitled, 2013
Courtesy of the artist and Bureau, New York

Ridgefield, CT (September 2015): The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum will present Old, Odd, and Oval, the first solo museum exhibition in the United States by Chicago-born artist Ruth Root, from November 15, 2015, through April 3, 2016.

Root’s practice centers on an intensive investigation of color, material, form, and support. For more than two decades, she has worked within the language of abstract painting, exploring the physical and illusory boundary of wall and object, foreground and background, even inventing her own color wheel to challenge canonized color theory. Old, Odd, and Oval, part of the Painting in Four Takes series of exhibitions, will focus on her latest body of work, medium- to large-scale to site-engaged paintings that demonstrate her experimentations with new materials and fabrication methods as she combines hand-painted Plexiglas with colorful fabric patterns she designs digitally. Alongside these new works, The Aldrich will present an intimate salon-style hanging of Root’s painted paper collages, initiated in 1998, to demonstrate her advancing investigation of color, pattern, and composition as noted influencers of what was to come (evidenced by the new works in the adjacent galleries). These small, shaped, works on paper are geometric abstractions that feature quirky cartoonish elements to rupture color fields—madcap flourishes humanizing pure abstract reduction.

Ruth Root: Old, Odd, and Oval, organized by Aldrich curator Amy Smith-Stewart, is generously supported by The Coby Foundation.

Painting in Four Takes

Ruth Root: Old, Odd, and Oval is part of Painting in Four Takes, a series of solo exhibitions that will provide a window into the practices of four engaging painters who imbue the medium with relevance and character. In addition to Root, Steve DiBenedetto, Hayal Pozanti, and Julia Rommel will be featured. On view from November 15, 2015, through April 3, 2016, the exhibitions will mark the first time in over twenty years that The Aldrich has dedicated all of its galleries to painting.

The last one hundred years have witnessed the explosion of virtually every available means and medium in the service of art making, yet painting has not only maintained a central position in visual art, but has also adapted creatively to rapid changes in our culture as a whole. Today, painting is embedded in the broad debate of actual vs. virtual, and its ability to balance what is illusive and what is real, what is tactile and what is optical, and what is emotive and what is formal, providing fertile ground for a diverse range of artists.

“While some point to marketability as the basis for the unwavering position of painting as a leading visual arts medium, for many artists, painting provides the most relevant platform for expression, allowing for both the potential of innovation and deep historical continuity,” says Richard Klein, The Aldrich’s exhibitions director.

Aldrich curator Amy Smith-Stewart explains, “The four artists selected span generations, methods, and intentions, but all are deeply entrenched in what painting is and can be in the image-dominated atmosphere of our twenty-first century.”

The public are invited to a free reception celebrating the four exhibitions from 2 to 5 pm on Sunday, November 15.

The Artist

Ruth Root was born in Chicago in 1967 and works in New York City. Her work has been exhibited at Andrew Kreps Gallery, New York; Maureen Paley gallery, London; Galerie Nikolaus Ruzicska, Salzburg, Austria; Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire; The Suburban, Oak Park, Illinois; MoMA PS1, Long Island City, New York; ArtPace, San Antonio, Texas; LACMA, Los Angeles; and the Seattle Art Museum, among others.

The Museum

Founded by Larry Aldrich in 1964, The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum is dedicated to fostering the work of pioneering artists whose interpretations of the world around us serve as a platform to encourage creative thinking. The Aldrich is one of the few independent, non-collecting contemporary art museums in the United States and the only museum in Connecticut devoted to contemporary art, and engages its diverse audiences with thought-provoking, interdisciplinary exhibitions and programs.

The Museum’s education and public programs are designed to connect visitors of all ages to contemporary art through innovative learning approaches in hands-on workshops, tours, and presentations led by artists, curators, Museum educators, and experts in related fields. Area schools are served by curriculum-aligned on-site and in-school programs, as well as teachers’ professional development training.


The Aldrich, in addition to significant support from its Board of Trustees, receives contributions from many dedicated friends and patrons. Major funding for Museum programs and operations has been provided by the Department of Economic and Community Development, Connecticut Office of the Arts; the National Endowment for the Arts; the Anna-Maria and Stephen Kellen Foundation; the Leir Charitable Foundations; the Goldstone Family Foundation; the Anne S. Richardson Fund; and Fairfield Fine Art.

Support for Education and Public programs has been provided by the William Randolph Hearst Foundation, JoyRide Ridgefield, the Newman’s Own Foundation, Fairfield County Bank, Fairfield County’s Community Foundation, Ridgefield Education Foundation, The Cowles Charitable Trust, and The Gage Fund.

HamletHub; TownVibe, publishers of Ridgefield Magazine; and WSHU Public Radio are the official media sponsors of The Aldrich in 2015.

For additional information and images, please contact:

Kris Honeycutt The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum 203.438.4519, extension 125