| Leonardo/ISASTwith Arizona State University

Ruth Wallen

Facultyat Goddard College
United States
Focus area: Art Theory, Critical Theory

Ruth Wallen is a multi-media artist and writer whose work is dedicated to encouraging dialogue around ecological and social justice. After working as an environmental scientist, she turned to art to pose questions beyond disciplinary boundaries, address values informing environmental policy, and contribute to the developing field of ecological art.  She creates interactive installations, nature walks, web sites, artist books, and performative lectures. Her critical writing addresses ecological art, race, gender and visual culture. She has had many solo exhibitions in the United States and been represented in numerous national and international group exhibitions including the first major exhibition in the US addressing climate change, Weather Report: Art and Climate Change, curated by Lucy Lippard for the Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art. Web site hosts have included the California Museum of Photography and the Exploratorium, where her work is currently on view.
Her recent work focuses on walking with trees, bearing witness to their losses due to urbanization, globalization, in the form of introduced species, and climate change. She has collaborated with scientists to model projections of future climate in the form of tree rings, a potent image that takes the form of ever tightening noose as rings become closer and closer together under less optimal conditions for growth. The presentation of her work takes many forms, including creative writing, web sites, performative lectures, installations and outdoor memorials and rituals.
Active in the border region, she was a member of the multinational artist collective Las Comadres, past president of the Binational Association for Schools of Communication in the Californias and a Fulbright Lecturer at the Autonomous University of Baja California, Tijuana. Currently she is co-chair for the low-residency MFAIA in Interdisciplinary Arts program at Goddard College and a lecturer at University of California San Diego (UCSD).

Journal Articles:
Special Section: Disremembering the Harrisons

Helen and Newton Harrison: Visionary EcoArtists

June 2023
Special Section: Global Crossings: The Cultural Roots of Globalization

Of Story and Place: Communicating Ecological Principles through Art

June 2003
General Articles

Ecological Art: A Call for Visionary Intervention in a Time of Crisis

June 2012