Bethlehem Press

Wednesday, October 17, 2018
CONTRIBUTED PHOTOBarnaby Ruhe in the studio of his South Mountain farmhouse. CONTRIBUTED PHOTOBarnaby Ruhe in the studio of his South Mountain farmhouse.

Banaby Ruhe in ‘Regenesis’ at The Baum School of Art

Thursday, September 20, 2018 by Ed Courrier Special to The Press in Focus

Barnaby Ruhe, a Lehigh Valley creative force of nature, brings “Regenesis” to the David E. Rodale Gallery at The Baum School of Art with an opening reception 6 - 9 p.m. Sept. 20. The event, held in conjunction with Allentown’s monthly “Destination Arts: Third Thursday,” features the multi-talented American artist, shaman, academic, and world-champion boomeranger.

Accompanied by jazz saxophonist and harmonic vocalist Gary Hassay and pianist Dan DeChellis, Ruhe will hold one of his trademark action painting sessions, creating a work of art on an 8-foot-by-8-foot canvas at the reception.

Juxtaposed with the Impressionistic, energetic, stream of consciousness work of Barnaby Ruhe, the exquisitely detailed artwork of the late miniature artist, Jane Walker Conneen (1921 - 2008), graces the walls of The Baum School’s Rodale Family Gallery. Conneen’s “It’s a Small World” exhibit featuring her tiny etchings opens with a shared reception Sept. 20. Both exhibitions conclude Oct. 20 and share a closing reception, 6 - 9 p.m. Oct. 18.

(For Conneen exhibition article, see TheLehighValleyPress.com)

Ruhe, known for his portrait-painting marathons, will hold one at Baum School’s upcoming board meeting. Boomerang events are also in the works with details to be announced soon.

It’s all part of a series of events this fall that culminate in Baum’s annual Gala fund-raiser. This year, Larry Miley, an ardent supporter of the Baum School and the Lehigh Valley arts community, is the honoree. Miley has been a friend of Ruhe’s for more than 40 years.

Ruhe, recently returned home to his studio on the Ruhe family farm in Emmaus from the 2018 Burning Man Festival. He runs shaman healing workshops each summer at the event. The artist also has a studio in the Westbeth Artists Community in New York City. Ruhe teaches at New York University, as well.

Ruhe is the godson of Baum School founder, Walter Emerson Baum. Ruhe is the grandson of Percy Ruhe, a Baum School board member, former editor at The Morning Call, and close friend of the Baum’s.

Percy Ruhe and then Allentown Mayor Malcolm Gross were instrumental in assisting Baum with his art school plans.

“Those two gentlemen worked with Walter [Baum] to help secure classroom spaces on Saturdays for his classes before we had the building,” says Baum School of Art Executive Director Shannon Fugate. “There’s a really long line of Ruhe and Baum connections,” she adds.

In describing the exhibition, Baum School of Art Gallery Director Kris Kotsch stated:

“‘Regenesis’ will present work that reflects Ruhe’s gestural style combined with stream of consciousness texts that illustrate his retelling of history to include women’s spiritual and physical power and place in culture.

“His work draws on inspiration from world cultures, art history, and paint itself. Included in the exhibition are abstract ‘conversations’ with important artworks from Western art history, portraits created in Barnaby’s signature marathon style, and altar-like installations, including talismans, psychic objects, and artifacts.”

Of Ruhe naming the show “Regenesis,” Fugate explains, “The idea is that from the beginning of time women’s story has not been told appropriately. That is really the impetus for of all of his work, the idea of feminine power.”

A closing reception is 6 - 8 p.m. Oct. 18.

The exhibit is sponsored by Janet and Malcolm Gross.

Baum School of Art Gallery hours: 9 a.m. - 9 p.m. Monday - Thursday, 9 a.m. - 3 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Closed Sunday. baumschool.org; 610-433-0032.