Ginny Ruffner: Reforestation of the Imagination

June 28, 2019 – January 5, 2020

Ginny Ruffner with Grant Kirkpatrick, Liriodendrum plausus (Flapping tulip), 2017, sculpture (acrylic on handblown glass), island (plywood, low-density foam, fiberglass, epoxy, sand, pebbles, and acrylic paint), and holographic image. Sculpture: 19 x 12 x 9 in. Background: Bronze Tree (center island), 2017, plywood, low-density foam, fiberglass, epoxy, sand, pebbles, acrylic paint, bronze, and lampworked glass. Overall: 50 x 63 x 49 in. Installation view at MadArt Studio, 2018. Courtesy Ruffner Studio. Photo by Fiona McGuigan.

Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian American Art Museum
1661 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC

1st Floor Floor Plan

Ginny Ruffner combines traditional glass sculpture with Augmented Reality (AR) technology to create an interactive viewer experience in Ginny Ruffner: Reforestation of the Imagination. Visitors to the exhibition 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 that appear 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. 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.