Artist Ginny Ruffner on Curiosity, Language, and the Brain

Artists may see the world differently from most people, but for artist Ginny Ruffner, especially after her brain injury, thinking about thinking, thinking about wonder and how the mind creates and is endlessly fascinating.

How my work has developed over the years that it keeps me interested is through my curiosity. My curiosity has been--in the past 15 years anyway--really about science. I have been really fascinated with the recent developments in genetics, and my current series I've been working on the most, the Aesthetic Engineering Series, is about how genetics might be just "what if." And thinking about thinking, thinking about wonder has kept me really interested. Perhaps language might be the only common denominator in my work over the years. And by language I mean language in the very esoteric sense, not language like we're speaking, but there are many kinds of languages: unspoken, symbolic, religious, iconographic; color is a language. And wow, what languages mean and what they do, they are communication, which having the accident made me really think about how I could communicate because when I first woke up, all I could do was this. When I could move my hand, they had me pointing to an alphabet board. That was the way I could communicate. I wanted to get from here to here or from here to here, and I couldn't do it, so I had to think of a different way.
Posted on BrainLine September 19, 2012.

Produced by Victoria Tilney McDonough, Ashley Gilleland, and Jared Schaubert, BrainLine.