‘Remarkable Ruth Mountaingrove’ at the Ink People’s Tuxford Gallery on September 1st

This is a press release from the Ink People Center for the Arts:

Portrait of Ruth Mountaingrove in the Ink People dark room by Cheryle Easter

River of Time, a collection of  works from local artist and activist Ruth Mountaingrove (1923 – 2016) opens September 1st at the Ink People’s Tuxford Gallery during Arts Alive.  Featured works include Mountaingrove’s Drawing with Light series of photographs, her paintings, poetry and more.

Mountaingrove was always pushing creative boundaries as technology and society developed over the span of her 93 years. Her first book of poetry, Rhythms of Spring, was published in 1946, when she was just 23 years old. In the ’70s she met her partner Jean and moved to Mountain Grove, an intentional community in Southern Oregon, where they both changed their name to Mountaingrove.

Together, Ruth and Jean started the feminist commune Rootworks, and published WomenSpirit and The Blatant Image magazines. Photographs from this period are archived at the University of Oregon Libraries in Eugene, Oregon along with more than 20 hours of video archives.

In 1986 Mountaingrove moved from Oregon to Arcata, California. She returned to school, earning a Master’s degree in photography and art from Humboldt State University. At the age of 79 she earned another masters degree at HSU, this time in theatre.  Mountaingrove was also involved with the Women’s Radio Collective and hosted a radio talk show at KHSU, Through the Eyes of Women.

After moving to Humboldt, Mountaingrove’s work shifted from documentary photography to more abstract and experimental images.  Curated by long time friend, Cheryle Easter, The Ink People show will focus on these later works.  In her Drawing with Light series, Mountaingrove

created iconic images, often in the Ink People’s darkroom. They express a subtle, simplistic painterly style which Mountaingrove described as “like sumi ink drawings, or in some cases like paintings.”  The show will also include paint and canvas works as well as selections of her poetry.

During Arts Alive, friends and fans of Ruth Mountaingrove will be reading selections of her poetry to celebrate her life and unique perspective.  Opening and reception September 1st from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m..  The show will remain on display throughout September in the Ink People’s Tuxford Gallery, 525 7th Street in Eureka.  Gallery hours are available on their website, inkpeople.org.

“Oh Love, I’m dancing

to a tune I barely hear.

Is this romancing?

Or is this a dance I fear?”

-Ruth Mountaingrove

Three Untitled pieces from the Drawing with Light series.

IMAGE BY RUTH MOUNTAINGROVE, owned by Cheryle Easter

Self Portrait IMAGE BY RUTH MOUNTAINGROVE, owned by Cheryle Easter



  • Ruth sponsored the HSU literary annual poetry prize years ago. I won one year and they gave me a check. I told them I didn’t have a checking account at the time. Ruth agreed to meet me near where she lived in Arcata and exchange the check for cash. We chatted about poetry and writing.

    Later I remembered she was in a class when I was at HSU. They accepted her into the Masters program but not me (as a non-feminist male). She seemed very nice but feminism hopefully died with her in 2016.

    • Feminism is still alive…

    • Back in the 2nd Wave, I thought it was a circus, answering the secretaries in my office begging me to come out and burn my bra with, “I don’t WEAR a bra!” But the 3rd wave is even more embarrassing. The fact is: Women and men are equally powerful, just usually in different ways. This is not a bad thing. This is the wonderful fact of existence, and we should stop blaming each other for our own failings or bad luck.

      This woman, even if she may have been annoying about feminism, certainly was an example for all women, and her work shown here is good stuff. Thanks for posting it, Kym.

    • Why would you want feminism to die? How does women’s equality harm you?

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