ASHEVILLE, NC – The Asheville Art Museum, celebrating its 60th anniversary, proudly
presents Ruth Asawa: Drawing in Space from Saturday, September 19, 2009 to Sunday,
February 7, 2010. The public is invited to an Opening Reception Friday, September 25, 2009 from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m.
This exhibition celebrates the unique career of Ruth Asawa (1926 – ), an artist whose loopedwire sculptures and richly detailed drawings defy traditional conventions. This is Asawa’s first solo exhibition in North Carolina and features the gift of an important work of Asawa’s to the Asheville Art Museum from artist Lorna Blaine Halper.
Ruth Asawa: Drawing in Space begins with the her earliest sculptures, drawings and paintings created while at Black Mountain College and highlights several signature sculptures that formed her later visual vocabulary of looped and tied forms. This exhibition considers Asawa’s
connection to Western North Carolina and Black Mountain College as it places her work within a larger national context of artists who “viewed art as a way of thinking and acting.”
Asawa was born in 1926 in Norwalk, California, the fourth of seven children born to Japanese immigrant farmers. Following the attack on Pearl Harbor, her family was interned in New Mexico and Arkansas. She attended Milwaukee State Teachers College from 1943 to 1946. In 1946, she enrolled at Black Mountain College. There she studied with Josef Albers, Buckminster Fuller and Ilya Bolotowsky. Asawa’s philosophy that “there is no separation between studying, performing the daily chores of living and creating one’s own work” permeates a life and a career
that has combined success as an artist, a mother of six and a community advocate for arts education in elementary schools.
Asawa’s work is included in the permanent collections of the Guggenheim Museum, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Chase Manhattan Bank in New York, and the Oakland Museum of California, where one of her tied-wire sculptures adorns the entrance. She has received numerous awards, and has served on the San Francisco Arts Commission, the California Arts Council, the John D. Rockefeller Foundation’s Council for Museum Education in the Visual Arts and the board of the Buckminster Fuller Institute.