Refreshingly candid and colourfully bold, Thunder Bay multidisciplinary artist Ruth Tye-McKenzie’s self-portrait is simply titled Me. In the painting we see Ruth pursuing her favourite pastime: cross-country skiing along the many trails that can be found in the region. Wearing a traditional red Finnish hat and holding onto ski poles, Ruth has her head slightly tilted as she gazes directly at the viewer. Artist self-portraits are compelling because they can be intriguing and introspective, but also revelatory in how they convey a keen sense of the artist’s personality. In Me, Ruth brings the viewer into her world, sharing with us her love of the natural environment.
Born and raised in Edmonton, AB, Ruth studied art at the Banff School of Fine Arts and the Ontario College of Art, where she studied under of Group of Seven artist A.Y. Jackson. Upon moving to Thunder Bay for the second time in 1976, she joined the Lakehead Visual Arts Club and subsequently opened the Painted Turtle Art Shop in 1982. The recipient of numerous grants and awards, Ruth was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award at the 7th Annual Thunder Bay Arts & Heritage Awards Ceremony in recognition of her continuous contribution to the regional arts community.
Originally published in The Walleye – FEB 2018
By Nadia Kurd, Curator, Thunder Bay Art Gallery