Karen Stanton’s documentary “A Not So Still Life” offers an inspiring portrait of Ginny Ruffner, who overcame a near-fatal accident to continue on her path as an artist melding “lampworking” (an ancient glass technique involving application of flame rather than blowing) and painting to unique conceptional ends. The currently self-distribbed pic will open this summer in Seattle, where Ruffner lives, though prospects will likely soon skew toward educational and arts-focused broadcast.
Rebellious and creative from an early age, Ruffner ran wild through college and two unsuccessful marriages, but always focused on her art. She emerged a star in the heady 1980s Gotham art world, working in various media. But at age 39, visiting her native North Carolina for a wedding, she was involved in a three-car pileup. Comatose for several months, she woke up almost completely paralyzed and without speech, forced to develop “from childhood to adulthood all over again.” Her determination proved extraordinary, however; she says she willed herself to walk again because she hated being thought helpless. Her art flourished anew, too, these days ranging from intricate hand-scaled sculptures to massive public installations. Pic’s assembly is polished.