INTERVIEW: MARIA REGINA RUIZ | ITSLIQUID

INTERVIEW: MARIA REGINA RUIZ

Interviews | June 28, 2022 |

maria_regina_ruiz
Image courtesy of Maria Regina Ruiz

Interview: Maria Regina Ruiz
Luca Curci talks with Maria Regina Ruiz during CONSCIOUSNESS and VISIONS, second and third appointment of the ANIMA MUNDI 2022 art fair, at Palazzo Albrizzi-Capello.

I was born in Lima, Peru. I grew up in several different countries in Latin America. I have been fortunate to experience different cultures and to appreciate the value of different points of view. I am self taught and I am inspired when different audiences are moved in numerous ways by my work. I came to the United States when I was fifteen years old. I became a teacher and earned my PhD from the University of Texas at Austin. I have taught languages, literature and history for 29 years. Art was always my sane and safe place. I have always been fascinated by colors and textures. Artists like Yayou Kusama, Dorothea Lange and Alma Thomas have inspired me to pay attention and take a closer look at everyday moments and spaces. I have participated in several art competitions and my pieces have been featured in art shows and art magazines in Italy, Canada, California, New York, Massachusetts, Texas, Kansas. I am a represented artist by Agora Gallery in Chelsea, New York. I currently live in Houston after spending three years teaching in Florida.

maria_regina_ruiz
Image courtesy of Maria Regina Ruiz

Luca Curci – What’s your background? What is the experience that has influenced your work the most?
Maria Regina Ruiz
– I am originally from Lima, Peru. I was born in 1974. I grew up in several different countries in Latin America and I moved to the United States when I was 15 years old. I became a teacher and I earned my PhD from the University of Texas at Austin. I am certain that seeing different cultures and experiencing them inspired me to observe, pay attention to detail and have the desire to show my work to others in order to move them in any way possible. I grew up with the awareness that everyone around me was different. As a result, I matured accompanied by a constant habit to appreciate diversity and explore new ways of looking at the world. At the same time, my mother was a resilient, sophisticated and smart woman. I was inspired by her hard work, patience and love for color.

LC – Which subject are you working on?
MRR
– At the moment I am working on a red calla lily (oil on canvas). The shape of this flower has always fascinated me. It is geometric and rigid, yet it has movement. The ridges of the flower as well as its centre show mystery and embody strength and gentleness at the same time. I have always been interested in the organic lines and the textures of fruits, vegetables, flowers and objects that might go unnoticed, like a rope or a wire. I believe that the conscious decision to stop and study an object can also inspire people to stop a enjoy a moment, a person or a situation for what it is not for what it should be according to preconceived ideas.

maria_regina_ruiz
Image courtesy of Maria Regina Ruiz

LC – How did you get to your current artistic practice?
MRR
– I am self-taught. Since childhood, I have always found myself drawing and painting during challenging and joyful times. I am a Spanish teacher. I have taught languages, history, literature and culture for almost 30 years. Art was always my sane and safe place, I have spent my youth and adulthood exploring colour and light. Most of my work is oil on canvas. I am a represented artist by Agora Gallery in Chelsea, New York. I have participated in several national and international shows. My pieces have been published in art magazines in Canada, the United States, Italy and Germany.

LC – Are your artworks focused on a specific theme?
MRR
– I do not plan a painting. If I find something that catches my eye, composition happens naturally to me. I use dark backgrounds to accentuate how light enhances the surface of a fruit, a flower or a vegetable. I find myself exaggerating sections of light in order to create more dramatic pieces. I focus on the smallest section of a photograph (usually an inch or quarter of an inch) and magnify it to the point of abstraction, not attempting to paint in a realistic manner. I do my best to avoid mixing colors, I use them in their pure form as often as possible. Sometimes I let colors take their form once I place them on the canvas and I embrace the process of seeing what they can become. I admire the artistic trajectories of Dorothea Lange, Yayoi Kusama and Alma Thomas. These three artists devoted their lives to bringing attention to moments in life, to the present, to the minutes or seconds in time that matter and lack popular acceptance or attention.

maria_regina_ruiz
Image courtesy of Maria Regina Ruiz

LC – How is being an artist nowadays?
MRR
– Technology and new ways to stay connected have helped artists to reach more audiences and exchange ideas. However, something unique has happened in my journey as a painter. A year ago one of my paintings was part of an art show in Kansas. The owner of the gallery mentioned that my painting was one of the few works that showed traditional oil paint and traditional skills. I was surprised at first, nevertheless, I have noticed that what is considered “traditional painting” is not very common anymore. Moreover, most of my time is dedicated to my school and my lessons, however, my art is my refuge from the chaos of the world.

LC – Do visitors’ suggestions enrich yourself and your art?
MRR
– I live in the United States and I enjoy travelling. Because I am a teacher, I can only travel during a very specific time of the year. When I am fortunate to be present for a show or an exhibit, I enjoy watching art lovers study my pieces. It is delightful to see a person moved by one of my works. Hopefully, my pieces inspire them to pay closer attention to our surroundings and to the details and moments that go unnoticed. Sometimes gallery visitors have commented that one of my tomatoes looks like a flower to them or that a flower looks like a fruit. I never correct them, because that is the point of looking at a work of art, it brings the intention of the artist and the experiences of the viewer to one common reality. That is one of my favourite parts of opening nights.

maria_regina_ruiz
Image courtesy of Maria Regina Ruiz

LC – In which way the artwork presented in our exhibition is connected with the exhibition’s theme?
MRR
– My “Lirio morado” evokes movement, joy and a bit of mystery. I believe that nature and human interactions do the same. We are all connected in numerous ways. Our decisions and actions affect the planet and each other. I chose to exaggerate the color and the shadows of this flower. I believe that in life we usually ruminate on episodes or instants and we give them importance depending on our desires, needs and shortcomings. We all experience events, beauty, pain, and joy through our filters and emotional lenses.

LC – Can you explain something about the artworks you have in our exhibition?
MRR
– The inspiration for “Lirio morado” was born out of a very small section of a greeting card that I received many years ago. The texture and the movement of the petals caught my attention. I found the flower vibrant and extremely complex. The black background emphasizes the almost white sections of the flower.

maria_regina_ruiz
Image courtesy of Maria Regina Ruiz

LC – What do you think about ITSLIQUID Platform?
MRR
– I love how the platform is dynamic, elaborate, yet extremely accessible. It is the type of platform that invites artists from different backgrounds and different experiences to participate and feel welcome.

LC – What do you think about the organization of our event?
MRR
– The event is very diverse and also educational. As a teacher, I always look for ways to enlighten others but also to learn and continue learning. Having this event take place in more than one venue, creates more opportunities for audiences to attend. Moreover, the variety of mediums allows for a plethora of conversations about art to take place.

LC – Would you suggest a collaboration with us? What do you think about our services?
MRR –
I would love to collaborate in the future with ITSLIQUID. I was very honored to have one of my paintings in the exhibit and to be chosen to be a Featured Artist during the month of April. For an artist who lives far from Europe, who is self-taught and who loves art, ITSLIQUID is a very resourceful and professional platform to be a part of. I believe that ITSLIQUID creates a dialogue between artists and provides efficient ways to connect with talented people from around the world. Thank you for the opportunity.

maria_regina_ruiz
Image courtesy of Maria Regina Ruiz

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