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Ruth McCabe


Artists Statement - Ruth McCabe
Now painting full time, having retired from a career in psychotherapy, my painting subjects are usually rounded forms. These might be found in the Suffolk landscape, in boat hulls at Southwold Harbour, or in the beautiful weighty bodies of ewes, cows and pigs. Recently hares have also reappeared, their fluidity and harum-scarum nature sidling on to the canvas.
I feel embedded in the agricultural landscape of the Suffolk countryside. My grandfather farmed in Yorkshire and I remember brushing through wildflower meadows taller than my three year old self.
Now I walk the fields most days. Lively tracks and lines sweep across harvest stubble. When autumn arrives, newly turned furrows are cut deep. Their texture, darkness and weight seem monumental; sticky clay, cut and heaved by massive ploughs, transformed into great serpentine creatures, twisiting over vast areas. Distant horizons dissolve in winter rain, and tractor tracks fill with water.
I have fallen in love with evews, cows and piglets. Rounded weighty forms. Substantial flesh and impossibly bulging bodies. Beautiful elegant ankles, craggy haunches. Sturdy, warm.
Boats like “Hulk” can seem worn and stranded, even vulnerable, but they have strength, they persist. They may show me something about intimacy; close, alongside yet apart, in conversation with a neighbour, or comfortable solidarity.
For the last year I have been enjoying carving into the surface of thickly applied white oil paint. I then either continue working with knives on the wet paint, or rub paint into the dry surface. In the latter case, I love discovering where the surace marks are as colour picks them out. “Hulk” is an example of such a painting.
In all my work there has been something about loving, honouring and celebrating significance in what may appear ordinary and unremarkable, even ugly. What really matters in not always obvious. It can be overlooked.
Swan House, Beccles
Flint Gallery Blakeney
The King of Hearts, Norwich
Halesworth Gallery
Buckenham Galleries