Ruth Sack




Phantasmagoria: A bizarre or fantastic combination, collection, or assemblage.

I slid down the tongue of a giant monster and emerged exultant. The monster was a play structure by Niki de Sainte Phalle called “Golem”. I have since created my own whimsical artworks in order to spark that same thrill. 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.

These works are part of a series called “Phantasmagoria.” They have evolved from earlier coiled sculptures that evoked letterforms and primitive symbols. With the addition of organic shapes and detailed patterns, these pieces started to resemble lifelike characters. Each sculpture appears to be transitioning from an abstract form into an animated figure. This metamorphosis can summon thoughts of mythology and contemporary tales.

The forms and patterns could only be created in encaustic wax, a versatile medium that has enchanted me for over a dozen years. It’s a very process-driven medium, like cooking but better. The sculptures are made almost entirely of this beeswax and resin material, although some pieces contain clay and wire armatures. The colorful patterns are made from encaustic paint which is a pigmented version of this medium. All elements are combined with heat. I am pushing the limits of the materials I use to give an identity to my constructions.


I have always been an artist. I always made things, either of my own imagination or from inspiration of the work of others. I delight in “process”, which attracted me to sculpture, encaustic painting and assemblage. At first I regarded art as a thing to make. Now, after living through a few of life’s challenges, I see art as a physical manifestation of my outlook and experiences.
I received a BA from Brandeis University in art in 1975. I then spent a year learning how to draw and think like an artist at the New York Studio School. In 1979 I received my MFA in sculpture from City University of New York, Queens College. I learned graphic design at the California College of Arts and Crafts and continued to create art while running my own graphic design studio for nearly 30 years. My understanding of graphic design has become an important part of my artistic process.
I live in Cheshire Connecticut with my husband David. I enjoy the artistic environment of New Haven and regularly teach and exhibit my work there. My 2014 acceptance to New England Wax, a professional organization of artists who work in encaustic has provided great opportunities to exhibit my work and share ideas. I am also a member of New Haven Paint and Clay Club. 2020 will mark my first year as part of City Gallery in New Haven.
email: phone: (203) 464-4385