Artist Ruth Mergi

ruth-mergiThe background painting for this website is a portion of an original piece by artist Ruth Mergi, shown here. To view Ruth Mergi’s unique line of papercut ketubahs, click here.

Ruth Mergi is an American-born artist based in Modiin, Israel. She specializes in cut paper artwork. Working by hand, she creates unique and intricate single-layer, multilayered, and painted cut paper art. Self-taught as an artist, Ruth was first introduced to traditional Jewish paper craft as a high school student, and has been creating cut paper artwork for more than twenty years.

In addition to making paper cuts and paintings, Ruth holds degrees in rhetoric and law, has worked as a journalist, traveled through India, worked at a high-tech start-up, earned a Fulbright, and helped her chef husband open a successful gourmet restaurant in Jerusalem. Her diversity of experience bears directly on her art, which is open-minded, integrative, and expansive.

Ruth is married and has three young children.

My work explores the simple, universal beauty of geometric and organic shapes, and considers the visual and conceptual power of pattern and repetition. I create circular and tessellated images to reflect themes of order/chaos, growth, structure, and creation. Rendering these images with delicately cut paper, at once suggesting fragility and geometric certainty, I add colored and painted layers to suggest depth, texture, and movement.

Generally, I draw geometric pieces using only a compass and a straightedge, and cut all designs by hand. This painstaking and time-consuming process suggests both timelessness and emergence over time, describing lives and moments, and something beyond those lives and moments, unfolding, expanding, becoming, being.

My work is strongly influenced by Jewish tradition, and finds strong correlates in other spiritual traditions, as well as in modern and classical mathematics. I take a self-consciously integrative approach to art-making, seeking to assimilate in my work multiple scopes of knowledge and modes of knowing in order to create a timeless, beautiful, and interesting image.

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