Ruth Reese


For the 2023 Teen Museum Studies program, high school participants were guided through a competitive application review process and selected St. Louis-based artist Ruth Reese to present a new exhibition of works at CAM. Reese is a sculptor with over 20 years of experience teaching and creating art. She uses clay and repurposed materials to create imaginative, hand-made pieces that further her connection with the earth. Through her work she explores the idea of metamorphosis by combining humans, animals, and plants into single forms. Reese’s sculptures take inspiration from Greco-Roman mythology and personal experiences, which she uses to express the importance of transformation and how one must view change as integral to life.

The works in this exhibition are inspired by Greek deities such as Nyx, Gaia, and Daphne, whose stories of hardship, triumph, and transformation reflect and embody the process of metamorphosis. In times of adversity, life can feel as if it is slowing down and change is impossible. By combining these disparate ideas, Reese symbolically shows how evolution can happen in a short span of time. This creates a space for the youth of our society to know and believe that there is an opportunity for inspiration and growth.

Ruth Reese: Metamorphosis is organized for the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis by Caelen Brown, Corinne Farrill, Anthony Holmes, Maline Jackson-Austell, Fern Kanak, Finn Kanak, Ivy Kanak, Salem Lambert, Cozette Mothershead, Ava Swan, Mars Vance, Frankie Williams, and Jacob Williams, with support from Brandon Barr, Teen and Adult Programs Manager.


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