"Ruddick’s sculptures echo the Greeks in their subject matter, of course, but their delicate craft and fragmentary beauty have as much in common with Bonnard, Degas, and Giacometti as they do with Phidias. Moreover, the female figure underlying Ruddick’s drapery is seldom Goddess-like or ideal. The real female body, imperfect but beautiful, is celebrated with understated poignancy." – Kevin Scott, Richard York Gallery, NY In 1998
Dorothy Ruddick took her long fascination with cloth and clothing in a sculptural direction. Her previous portfolio of work consisted of fiber-based abstractions stitched onto linen using silk, cotton, and wool thread. In 'Number II', Ruddick changed her focus to explore the effect of drapery as it encircles the figure, using papier-mâché swathed over forms created with polymer modeling compound. 'Number II' is the first enlargement in bronze from this series.
Dorothy Ruddick has described the papier-mâché and polymer sculptures as “lyric poems” and the bronze as an “epic.” In both mediums, the attention to drapery and the definition it lends to the form indicates classical references, but the fragmentation and abstract treatment of the form places the work in a contemporary context. The figure is not idealized, yet it retains an alluring and beautiful form that is defined by the loops and folds of the drapery. Rather than appearing broken at the neck, arms, and legs, the sculpture is smooth, indicating that these parts were never a consideration, moving the object towards the abstract realm.