"These jewel-like paintings intuitively fuse different aesthetic traditions, folk art and old master, with natural grace and an uncanny quality that may be a species of magic." —American Arts Quarterly
Two new paintings have arrived at the Meyer Gallery in Park City, Utah.
Aurora (or Eos in Greek) is the Roman goddess of dawn. I painted her appearing in fiery orange robes in a backdrop of a rosy early morning landscape. Tennyson in his poem Tithonus, describes the goddess as blinding the stars and renewing her “beauty morn by morn”. Tithonus was the lover of Aurora who was granted immortality but not eternal youth.
A soft air fans the cloud apart; there comes A glimpse of that dark world where I was born. Once more the old mysterious glimmer steals From thy pure brows, and from thy shoulders pure, And bosom beating with a heart renew’d. Thy cheek begins to redden thro’ the gloom, Thy sweet eyes brighten slowly close to mine, Ere yet they blind the stars, and the wild team Which love thee, yearning for thy yoke, arise, And shake the darkness from their loosen’d manes, And beat the twilight into flakes of fire.
Two new paintings are currently available: “The Tempest” at Arden Gallery in Boston and “Child with Milagros” at Meyer Gallery in Santa Fe.
The idea for “The Tempest” came from two different sources. The first is Shakespeare’s play of the same title and the second from Fiordiligi’s aria of steadfast love in Mozart’s opera “Cosí Fan Tutte”. I wanted to depict hope and strength of character in the face of adversity, symbolized by a figure confronting a gathering storm.
If by your art, my dearest father, you have Put the wild waters in this roar, allay them, The sky, it seems would pour down the stinking pitch, But that the sea, mounting to th’welkin’s cheek, Dashes the fire out, O, I have suffered With those that I saw suffer: a brave vessel― Who had, no doubt, some noble creature in her― Dashed all to pieces, O, the cry did knock Against my very heart, Poor souls, they perished. Had I been any god of power, I would Have sunk the sea within the earth, or ere It should the good ship so have swallowed, and The fraughting souls within her.
~ William Shakespeare “The Tempest”
Come scoglio immoto resta Contra i venti, e la tempesta, Così ognor quest’alma è forte Nella fede, e nell’amor. Con noi nacque quella face Che ci piace, e ci consola, E potrà la morte sola Far che cangi affetto il cor.
~ Mozart “Così Fan Tutte”
Like a rock, we stand immobile against the wind and storm, and are always strong in trust and love. From us is born the light that gives us pleasure and comfort, and the power of death alone can change the affections of our hearts.
“Child with Milagros” is currently on exhibit at the Museum of Spanish Colonial Art in Santa Fe. It is part of the group show “GenNext: Future So Bright” featuring contemporary artists working with New Mexican imagery with historical and indigenous roots. The show runs thru March 29, 2019. The painting is available for purchase from the Meyer Gallery in Santa Fe.
Milagros are religious charms used as votive offerings at altars or shrines to aid in the healing of illnesses and wounds. They are often fashioned in the forms of body parts. In this painting, a pair of coral arms and a sacred heart are worn on a necklace.
Spellbound is the first survey of the self-taught artist’s paintings. Over the past decade, Fatima Ronquillo has created a personal modern aesthetic by combining European old master techniques with a magical realism found in Early American Colonial and Latin American Art. Ronquillo presents an imagined world of personages in military or exotic costumes who confront viewers with an ambiguous gaze. These figures are often accompanied by mischievous cupids dressed as Mozartian pages or wild animals which are either spirit guides or inner demons. Often they are shown with mementos or ‘recuerdos’ such as the lover’s eye jewelry to demonstrate one of the many stages of love, from the bliss of the requited to the despair of the rejected. Alongside the recurring theme of love, lush flora and mysterious fauna offer a glimpse into a world of myth and theatre. These compositions marry traditional portraiture, often Set against pastoral and idyllic landscapes, with an underlying sense of drama and playfulness. Ronquillo’s paintings are visions of beauty and love which incite a mad enchantment to the heart and mind.
Fatima Ronquillo’s recent explorations in mythological studies influence her latest work, which is a continuation of her charming, classically inspired painting style. The Santa Fe artist borrows techniques and styles from European Old Masters, Spanish Colonial artists and other genres from the past; she then blends this Old World aesthetic with modern ideologies. Ronquillo often illustrates themes from literature, opera or theater through playful and witty narratives. Lately, epics and tales from Greek mythology have taken over her pre-conceived storylines.
For this year’s solo show, Ronquillo has created a series of paintings that are set on the fabled island of Arcadia, which in ancient Greek mythologies was an unspoiled utopia representing idyllic happiness. Ronquillo’s overarching theme through this body of work is the search for Arcadia and that unreachable idea of a perfect society. The journey begins with “The Cartographer,” whose central figure stands in front of an allegorical map of Arcadia. Other pieces in the show illustrate scenes from this paradise. In “Homecoming,” Hebe the goddess of youth and beauty offers a cup of ambrosia to a crowned eagle. Poised next to her on a stone ledge is a bowl filled with fruits and flowers of the earth, while an ideal landscape reminiscent of Baroque painter Claude Lorrain fills the background.
Local influence seeps into Ronquillo’s mythological subject matter in “The Wanderers,” where a young girl rides a buffalo through a New Mexican landscape, often referred to as the “land of enchantment.” The peregrine falcon and the American bison shown in this piece have symbolic meaning as both have recently rebounded from an endangered species status. “The preservation of wildlife is precarious,” says Ronquillo. “Perhaps our Arcadia ought to be one of a peaceable kingdom.”
Explore Ronquillo’s painted paradise on Friday evening, September 14that the opening reception for “Arcadia.”