Welcome to the Website of Ruth Thomas, Artist

As an Australian artist living in Scotland, the vast landscapes of these two geographically different countries provide both inspiration and apprehension. I am captivated by the myriad of lines, patterns and formations found in the natural world but am increasingly concerned about the human impact on our environment and the threat to our oceans. I seek to explore this tension between human existence and sustainability in my drawings, printmaking, textiles and artists books.

My most recent artwork is based on exploratory drawings of the intertidal foreshores from Edinburgh to Dunbar. This shoreline has traditionally been used as a port, a safe haven for fishermen, a water source for industry and a place to be beside the sea. As such it is the perfect location to examine the impact of human intervention on the marine environment. I walk regularly on these beaches foraging in rock pools, observing, taking photos and collecting broken shells, driftwood, old nets and pieces of beach plastic. This marine detritus provides reference material to develop my own visual iconography of marks, patterns and surface textures.

My drawing process is intrinsic to the theme of my work as it provides a metaphoric structure in which I deconstruct and regenerate natural forms in a visual simulation of nature in flux. Embedded within the ebb and flow of the abstract format, there are traces of marine life, rhythmic ocean currents, gyres and man-made substances. The broad gestural strokes evoke the perpetual motion of the sea while the intensely worked areas contrast with quiet spaces of emptiness. There is a divergence between the spontaneous marks made by chance and more controlled intricate lines, and a discordance between the organic and the manufactured. This process of exploratory drawing, has triggered an evolution in my own way of thinking giving me a more intimate understanding of my relationship to the natural world.