Dr Ruth Elizabeth Watson



Dr Ruth Watson studied in New Zealand (BFA, University of Canterbury) and Australia (MVA, Sydney College of the Arts) and completed her PhD at the Australian National University. She has received several major awards including the Olivia Spencer-Bower Foundation Award in 1992, a Queen Elizabeth II Arts Council (now Creative New Zealand) Fellowship in 1993 and the international 2005 Walter W. Ristow Prize for an essay in the history of cartography. Ruth is represented by Two Rooms Gallery, Auckland. Since the early 1980s Ruth’s research interests have revolved around maps and mapping and in 2005 she created the largest map of the universe created to date (in collaboration with the ANU Research School of Astronomy and Astrophysics).  Working in sculpture, photography, moving image and paint, as well as writing, her research is informed by image theory, games, aspects of the history of cartography and the history of science.

Research | Current

  • Sculpture and installation
  • Theory, history of cartography
  • Contemporary art and cartography
  • Painting
  • Photography

Selected publications and creative works (Research Outputs)

As of 29 October 2020 there will be no automatic updating of 'selected publications and creative works' from Research Outputs. Please continue to keep your Research Outputs profile up to date.
  • Watson, R. E. Geophagy ['Geophagy' consisted of a 4-5m high stack of pallets, second hand clothing, and 5 single channel video works; 'Unmapping the world' is a 9-minute, single channel HD video projection and installation: 'Transient Global Amnesia' was a series of 9 framed colour photographs (extant video installation 'The Surface of Things' was also included) .] Gus Fisher Gallery, Auckland. 28/4/2017 - 27/5/2017 Related URL.
  • Watson, R. E. (2016). Heart-shaped worlds: Cordiform maps in the context of early modern Europe. The Globe, 80, 1-12.
    URL: http://hdl.handle.net/2292/35720
  • Watson, R. E. (26/7/2015). The Surface of Things [Three single channel videos with sound presented on monitors; installation], Headlands Centre for the Arts Open Day Presenation, Headlands Centre for the Arts, Sausalito, California. Related URL.
  • Watson, R. (2015). Current and Complete Description of the World, 1536, Oronce Fine. In V. Clarke, R. Pickles, T. Cooke (Eds.) Map: Exploring the world (pp. 158). London, New York: Phaidon Press Limited.
  • Watson, R. E. (2013). Art at the Interface of Data and Image. http://www.metamute.org/editorial/articles/art-interface-data-and-image. Related URL.
  • Watson, R. E. Redoubting Antarctica [Multiple media used - photographic prints, inkjet prints, mixed media on canvas on wooden frame, mixed media on canvas, wood with enamel paint with film lights, ink on paper and more.] Two Rooms Gallery, Auckland, New Zealand. 13/7/2012 - 11/8/2012 Related URL.
  • Watson, R. E. Myriad Worlds – a solo exhibition for the Dunedin Public Art Gallery's Big Wall [Multi-media] Dunedin Public Art Gallery. 1/1/2011
  • Watson, R. E. (2009). Mapping in Contemporary Art. Cartographic Journal, 46 (4), 293-307. 10.1179/000870409X12549997389709
    URL: http://hdl.handle.net/2292/14382

Contact details

Primary office location

Level 4, Room 402
New Zealand