Dean Ruck Creates “Ourglass” in Houston Sculpture Exhibit

Updated on April 10, 2020
Peggy W profile image

I live in Houston, and I have worked as a nurse. My interests include art, traveling, reading, gardening, cooking, and our wonderful pets.

"Ourglass" Sculpture by Dean Ruck
"Ourglass" Sculpture by Dean Ruck | Source

“Ourglass” Sculpture by Dean Ruck

Do you see an artistic version of an hourglass in this mirrored sculpture created by Dean Ruck, an exclamation point or something else? Dean Ruck’s name for the sculptural piece was “Ourglass,” and that title could have several meanings.

This fifteen-foot high sculpture reflected fractured images of our city on the esplanade of Heights Boulevard in Houston. Angled mirrors depicted the sky, shafts of sunlight, nearby trees, passing vehicles, and passersby. People walking close next to it could see their figure appear in the numerous small mirrors making up this dramatic, eye-catching piece of art.

The dazzling sculpture, along with the seven others in this temporary “True North” exhibit, was in place for nine months until November 4, 2014, when the display ended. “Ourglass” was for sale for $20,000.

I can well imagine this pretty reflective piece of sculptural art residing nicely in someone’s yard if it is large enough or in another public space.

“Ourglass” sculpture by Dean Ruck. I had some fun photo editing this!
“Ourglass” sculpture by Dean Ruck. I had some fun photo editing this!

Dean Ruck

The artist Dean Ruck was born in 1962 in Hamden, Connecticut. He received his BFA in 1984 at the University of Colorado in Boulder. His MFA was acquired at the Cranbrook Academy of Art in 1987 in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan.

After receiving his Masters of Fine Arts degree, he came to Houston to become an artist-in-residence at the Glassell School of Art. That school is near the Houston Museum of Fine Arts and Contemporary Arts Museums.

The phenomenal Cullen Art Sculpture Garden is located between the Glassell School of Art and the Houston Museum of Fine Arts and across the street from the Contemporary Arts Museum.

Famous artists like Matisse, Rodin, and Miro, to name a few, have produced eye-catching sculptures which are in this outdoor and public space. There is no admission charge to wander through the Lillie and Hugh Roy Cullen Sculpture Garden. Everyone can enjoy the unique ambiance.

So while Dean Ruck was spending time at the Glassell School of Art as an artist in residence, he was virtually surrounded by other famous artist’s works a few steps away from the school.

Dean Ruck currently works at the University of Houston as a senior project manager with Facilities Planning and Construction. He also maintains his successful artistic career.


Dean Ruck has been in group shows in these Texas cities: Houston, Galveston, Albany, Austin, Plano, and San Antonio.

His one-person shows have been in Houston, Indianapolis, Indiana, and Atlanta, Georgia. He has also shown his work in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Some editing fun with the Dean Ruck sculpture "Ourglass"
Some editing fun with the Dean Ruck sculpture "Ourglass" | Source

Havel Ruck Projects

Numerous articles are written about Dean Ruck as well as his collaboration with another local artist by the name of Dan Havel. Together under the name of Havel Ruck Projects, LLP, they have created many public art projects. They repurpose architectural structures and often make them into temporary works of art. One of their collaborative efforts was in the Fifth Ward community of Houston. Another was in the Montrose area.

Their creations stand for a time and draw crowds of people who may never have visited the inside of an art museum. Those temporary works of art are then demolished only to remain in people’s memories, photos, or some YouTube videos.

Both artists relish that aspect of bringing art to people in public settings. Below are some videos that show samples of their work.


Transforming a wide variety of reclaimed materials into original forms is of great interest to artist Dean Ruck. Many of his works are impermanent and short-lived, while others are permanent in museum settings.

Please take the time to view these videos. They are nothing short of amazing!

Mirror Mirror on the Wall

The pieces of mirrors making up this Dean Ruck sculpture are not on a wall, as in the fairy tale of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.

This artful sculpture does reflect beauty from all angles. That is what the vain and evil queen wished to see when gazing into her mirror as portrayed in the Grimm’s fairy tale. She wanted to hear that she was “the fairest one of all.”

Hopefully, wherever it now resides, it is being appreciated as it was for nine months on Heights Boulevard in Houston.

I want to think that fair maidens, similar to Snow White, are now gazing upon this beauty of a sculpture.

Evil queen looking in the mirror...
Evil queen looking in the mirror... | Source

The “True North” Sculpture Exhibit

The other artists who took place in this temporary exhibit included the following:

  • Dan Havel
  • Lee Littlefield
  • Paul Kittelson
  • Carter Ernst
  • Patrick Medrano
  • Ed Wilson
  • Steve Murphy

Top part of the "Ourglass" sculpture with the glistening mirrors by Dean Ruck
Top part of the "Ourglass" sculpture with the glistening mirrors by Dean Ruck | Source


© 2020 Peggy Woods


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    • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

      Peggy Woods 

      3 months ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi FlourishAnyway,

      Depending upon the hurricane, all kinds of structures can be damaged. This sculpture is so beautiful and large that I could see it as an installation in a hotel lobby with high ceilings, or an atrium setting.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image


      3 months ago from USA

      I like the “beauty from all angles” description of this outdoor art as well as the work itself. Oli do wonder how art like this fares in high wind like hurricanes.

    • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

      Peggy Woods 

      3 months ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Ann,

      It sounds as though you and your family all had a wonderful Easter, even if apart. Those pictures of your grandchild must have really been cute if you called them hilarious. (Smile)

    • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

      Peggy Woods 

      3 months ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Ruby,

      So happy to be sharing pieces of sculptural art like this beauty with you and others. Thanks for your comment.

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 

      3 months ago from SW England

      Yes, we enjoyed it, especially sitting in the garden watching our bird residents rushing here and there with nesting bits and food for those already hatched. I also received some hilarious photos from my daughter of the youngest grandchild discovering Easter eggs in the garden and taking the eating of some very seriously!

      Hope you had a good day too.


    • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

      Peggy Woods 

      3 months ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Ann,

      I did have some fun playing around with that image. Thanks for noticing. Hope you have been enjoying this Easter Day today.

    • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

      Peggy Woods 

      3 months ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Lorna,

      Hopefully, sometime soon, we will be able to photograph the new exhibits along this same boulevard. So glad you are enjoying them from afar.

    • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

      Peggy Woods 

      3 months ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Pamela,

      I truly liked this particular sculpture, also. Hopefully, it is brightening someone's day now in a different place.

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Richert 

      3 months ago from Southern Illinois

      This is a beautiful, sparkling sculpture. I love your photos. Thanks for sharing .

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      3 months ago from Olympia, WA

      That is a stunning piece for sure. Thank you for sharing it! Absolutely beautiful creation!

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 

      3 months ago from SW England

      I love your photo edit of this. Very clever! You obviously have an artistic eye yourself.

      It made me think of Alice through the Looking Glass!


    • Lorna Lamon profile image

      Lorna Lamon 

      3 months ago

      I love the idea of being able to enjoy these art sculptures for short periods of time. This is an amazing piece, so eye catching. I also thought the 'Mirror Mirror on the Wall' was equally amazing. A very talented artist. Thank you for sharing this informative article Denise which I thoroughly enjoyed.

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 

      3 months ago from Sunny Florida

      The sculpture and all of the unique art work is beautiful. Dean Ruck is surely a talented artist. I may have said this before but I am amazed at the large volume of art and the artists in Houston. The parks and galleries are truly amazing.

    • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

      Peggy Woods 

      3 months ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Liz,

      So many mirrors were used in constructing this sculpture. It was fun to view at all times of the day.

    • Eurofile profile image

      Liz Westwood 

      3 months ago from UK

      This is an eye-catching sculpture. Its good that you have been able to record it so thoroughly.


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