Ginny Ruffner

Reforestation of the Imagination

March 17 through June 11, 2023

On view in the Atrium, Blackmon, and Weil Galleries

Overview

Ginny Ruffner has recently created work that combines traditional glass sculpture with Augmented Reality (AR) technology to create an interactive viewer experience. Visitors to the exhibition Reforestation of the Imagination will use a downloadable app that superimposes digital information over seemingly barren sculptures, creating two distinct realities to explore.

The installation consists of six islands, each featuring colorless glass sculptures of tree stumps. The landscape appears barren and bleak. Ruffner has imagined a gloriously complex and colorful alternative environment that viewers can access using AR’s technological lens. In this second reality, the stumps grow unique appendages of mythical flora. Ruffner designs these fictional species to adapt to their surrounding conditions in a means unexpected, beautiful, and optimistic. These plants have evolved from existing fruits and flowers, developing dramatic appendages and skills necessary to flourish in this radically different environment. Reforestation of the Imagination calls into question our very notions of reality and fantasy, of concrete and abstract, and of desolation and hope, all while drawing attention to contemporary ecological issues. The installation also includes nineteen drawings that were the inspiration for the AR images.

Above: Drawing and digital rendering, Courtesy of the artist

Organizer

Organized by Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, D.C.

Sponsor

Support for this exhibition was provided, in part, by lead sponsors Mr. and Mrs. Barrie H. Harmon III and a grant from ArtBridges.

Reforestation of the Imagination calls into question our very notions of reality and fantasy, of concrete and abstract, and of desolation and hope, all while drawing attention to contemporary ecological issues.

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