Décor for Dance — Ruth Grauert’s Art Featured at Ursinus Exhibition
Alumni Weekend Art Exhibition, Ursinus College, Collegeville, Pennsylvania, June 5, 2010

A Review by Virginia Dillon

Ruth Grauert is not only an alumna of Ursinus College, Class of 1939, and a 2009 recipient of an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters but is now an exhibiting artist at the Berman Museum of Art on the Campus of Ursinus College in Collegeville, Pennsylvania.

I had the pleasure of accompanying Ruth to an exhibit of her slide projections as part of the Alumni Weekend Art Exhibition that took place on the 5th of June. The exhibit was held in the lobby of the Kaleidoscope Theater, an excellent place to see art as it has an abundance of natural light and neutral colors, and the space has a wonderful sweep to it.

The curator of the exhibit, Marcele Paton, was very hospitable and did an excellent job of curating and displaying the many different kinds of work. And she mounted Ruth’s slides in an especially wonderful way. In fact, they were the first exhibit encountered as one entered the space, where a large flat-screen

Composite photograph for Art of Motion, Coppelia, children’s production, 2008
TV had been mounted, continuously rotating Ruth’s slides.The coup d’eclat was a young lady positioned at the door announcing that the exhibit started “immediately to your left” where one saw not only the slides but Miss Ruth herself on a conveniently located bench. Since the slides elicited a lot of curiosity with such remarks as, “How did you do that?” it’s a good thing Ruth was right there.

For the most part, Ruth’s response was, “With a mouse,” as most of them were digital creations. However, she would explain that three of them, the earliest works in the collection, had been done with a camera. Many of the slides were created for Lynn Needle’s ballets, and one of my favorites is a collage of photographs that was done for Coppelia. Golden toned, with a seductive, winding street that goes off into a Mediterranean village, it’s evocative of 19th century theater pieces and the romance that they elicit.

The majority of the slides are marvelous abstractions of color and shape and stand alone quite well, so one can only imagine what they do when projected to create a magical environment for dance. President John Strassburger, who had hosted us after Ruth’s Doctoral ceremony, enjoyed the slides very much and introduced Lisa Tremper Hanover, the curator of the Berman Museum of Art, who subsequently made Ruth’s work a part of the permanent collection.

Ruth may or may not be the oldest living alumna of Ursinus College, but she is certainly one of their most prolific and honored graduates.

View the Ursinus show of slides online.