Artist Donna Ruff’s affinity for recycling books and paper runs in the family. Her great-grandfather was a book binder in Russia and her grandparents were early book and paper recyclers in Chicago. So it’s no surprise that the New Mexico-based artist has created this series of Cut Paper pieces, in which she carves intricate patterns across a variety of surfaces.
From old pages of The New York Times to single sheets of linen, Ruff uses all kinds of paper as her canvas for carving beautiful designs. The artist’s bio states, “She finds beauty and inspiration in sacred texts such as the Torah and the Qur'an, but also in the New York Times and the Manhattan phone book; in cathedrals, mosques and synagogues, but also in the warehouses of Chicago and Brooklyn.”
The finely cut shapes reflect the ornamental stencils often found on decorative lace. In her designs, Ruff gives equal weight to both the positive and negative spaces of the pages. As viewers observe the work, they will find that their eyes move back and forth between the purposeful geometric arrangements that seamlessly blend with the faces, dates, and headlines of old news.