Ruth Hendricks/ People at Work 7/7/2018

People at Work- Primarily Pittsburgh

July 7-28, 2018

Panza Gallery

New Jersey native and Pittsburgh-based artist Ruth E. Hendricks is exhibiting over one hundred photographs in a solo show at Panza Gallery in Millvale, PA in July. The show, People at Work- Primarily Pittsburgh, represents the everyday work-selves and activities of people around the city.  The exhibition shows jobs that range from a tree expert, lawyer, butcher, master framer to a restaurant owner to name a few. Each photograph includes a brief, descriptive occupational title while leaving the subject’s name anonymous. This anonymity can function to protect one’s identity and perhaps the viewer can focus more on what is happening in the photograph rather than names.

Upon sensing the individuals’ consistent receptiveness to the camera, it is clear that Ruth seems to hold a respectful kind of relationship with the individuals photographed. She has been able to enter the inner spaces of people’s everyday lives and celebrate them through art. This everydayness that Ruth and the individuals allow the viewer to see is a refreshing change to a culture of celebrities and politicians that is often pushed to the foreground. The recognition, validation, and gratitude sensed between artist(s) and individuals is a healthy reminder that the diversity of occupational roles sustain a city. While people at work are celebrated in Ruth’s photography, it could also be noted that our work does not have to solely define us, nor do we have to radically define our forms of work.

Ruth’s works were arranged and installed by Mark Panza. Mark’s arrangement allows viewers to walk around the gallery and see roles side-by-side in a horizontal direction. This directionality helps the viewer understand a sense of equality and how roles and persons are implicated in a place. In other words, we greatly need the many kinds of persons, jobs, and expressive actions represented in Ruth’s photographs to navigate a life.

Mary Jeanette Eberhardinger