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PHANTASMAGORIA: Art to Amuse and Amaze by Ruth Sack

By definition, phantasmagoria means “a bizarre or fantastic combination, collection, or assemblage.” At City Gallery, it means an exciting and dreamlike exhibition of works by Ruth Sack. Her show PHANTASMAGORIA: ART TO AMUSE AND AMAZE will be on view from February 4 - February 27, with a chance to Meet the Artist on Saturday, February 5 and Sunday. February 6, both days from 1pm - 4 pm.

Color is clearly a driving force behind Sack’s work — evocative bright colors, illuminated fluorescents — and she pushes the limits of the materials she uses to give identity to her constructions. “I am drawn to painting with encaustic for its versatility,” she explains. “It has magical abilities; being translucent, activated by heat, it can be cast, and can adhere to any surface while being able to embed things into it. It’s a very process-driven medium, like cooking but better.”
You may remember Sack’s postural sculptures that she used as pictureforms to spell out messages. She also created prints from layers of colors reminiscent of personal experiences. For this exhibit, she has combined the two techniques to build sculptures arrayed in the patterns of memories. The results are dreamlike and playful sculptures that she calls Phantasms.
Her inspiration? “I once slid down the tongue of a giant monster and emerged exultant,” she says. “The monster was a play structure by Niki de Sainte Phalle called Golem. The sculptures in this exhibit are inspired by Saint Phalle in pursuit of that excitement. I am as thrilled moving through a gigantic sculpture as I am when making a piece of art that delights me. These are the sort of feelings that have been quashed by the pandemic. These are the sort of feelings that art can restore.”
Sack received a BA from Brandeis University in art in 1975, and spent a year learning how to draw and think like an artist at the New York Studio School. In 1979, she received her MFA in sculpture from City University of New York, Queens College. She learned graphic design at the California College of Arts and Crafts and continued to create art while running her own graphic design studio for nearly 30 years. She lives in Cheshire, Connecticut with her husband David. She enjoys the artistic environment of New Haven and regularly teaches and exhibits her work there. She is a member of New England Wax, the New Haven Paint and Clay Club, and City Gallery.
Treat yourself to this exuberant and whimsical exhibit! It’s free and open to the public, and runs February 4 - February 27, with a chance to Meet the Artist on Saturday, February 5 and Sunday. February 6, both days from 1pm - 4 pm. City Gallery is located at 994 State Street, New Haven, CT 06511. Gallery hours are Friday - Sunday, 1pm - 4 pm, or by appointment. Private viewings can also be arranged with the artist by emailing During regular hours, visitors are required to wear a mask and observe social distancing protocols. For the reception, proof of vaccination will be required for entry, and masks are required. For further information please contact City Gallery,,

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