"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
My feverish and unsatisfactory attempts were themselves a token of love, a love which brought me no pleasure but was nonetheless profound. – Marcel Proust
In Swann’s Way, Proust’s narrator describes his relationship with the art of writing in the above quote. At a recent afternoon tea, (I heart afternoon tea), conversation turned towards the discussion of the enjoyment of one’s work. There were three of us there: myself, and two writers. The first writer somehow evaded directly answering the question, only glibly admitting that she never suffered writers block… a malady she assigned to those more original than herself. The second, meanwhile, declared the joyful and meditative states induced by the activity of writing. As for myself, I love my work but rarely do I enjoy it. Drawing is pleasurable because it is immediately gratifying. Perhaps this is why I jealously guard my drawings and am reluctant to show them; they are my private joy. Painting on the other hand is too difficult and slow going. So why do I paint? For the same reason why Proust’s narrator pursues writing: love. If drawing is the seed of an idea, then an oil painting for me is that idea fully realized. I am grateful for the privilege of making art for a living and my love for painting is deep and profound. And so I dedicate myself to something more tangible than that loaded word, art, and do my work as a craftsman would: day to day and with consistency. I am reminded of that artist’s adage: we do not have the right to the fruits of our labor, only to the labor itself. Or some such thing…
I am pleased to announce my upcoming solo show “Love and Loss” at Meyer East Gallery in Santa Fe. There will be a reception on Friday, September 21, 5 to 7 p.m. Preview the show.
“Love and Loss” continues on the leitmotifs of love tokens and mementos. I am fascinated by the complex nature of love, at once a source of pleasure and pain. There is the ecstasy felt by the chosen beloved and ardent admirer. Love’s fleeting nature however, highlights the despairs of the forsaken, unnoticed and forgotten lovers, often symbolized by physically visible wounds.
The surreal aspect of an isolated lover’s eye attracts me tremendously—the idea of physical dismemberment which is symbolic of a removal or estrangement of a loved one. For anyone who has ever been in love or had a crush on someone, the photograph of the beloved is treasured. It reminds me of the mexican ‘milagros’ – little charms of different body parts used to aid in praying for the healing of broken arms or hearts, or even eyes.
Compositionally speaking, the framed ornamental eye gives context and a reason for a floating third or fourth eye in a painting. It’s a device of conceit: a portrait within a portrait. For me, it’s an iconic symbol about the figure represented not unlike the reliquaries of saints in old devotional images.
“Lucy and Majorette” 12×9 inches, oil on panel SOLD
“[Ronquillo’s] figures borrow from Latin American magic realists like Fernando Botero, while her backgrounds recall the proto-landscapes of Leonardo and Giorgione. The uniform worn by the girl in “Lucy and Majorette” acquires an unsettling quality as much from resemblance to the pretentious, overly-ornamental uniforms worn by South American dictators as from the presence of this vulnerable, white outfit in a dark, looming forest. Yet most disturbing, because most disturbed, is the serious way this young woman holds in her arms not just a spotted pig, but a winged, spotted pig, cradled in her arms in a way that draws attention to the bright red ring she wears on her index finger.” – Geoff Wichert, 15 Bytes
I came upon eye miniatures on the Ornamentalist blog a few years ago quite by accident. I’ve always been interested in miniature portraits and mementos so the imagery stuck. The miniature portrait started showing up in my works in 2008 with “The Miniature” and an actual lover’s eye last year with “Soldier with Lover’s Eye.”
The surreal aspect of an isolated eye attracts me tremendously—the idea of physical dismemberment which is symbolic of a removal or estrangement of a loved one. For anyone who’s ever been in love or had a crush on someone, the photograph of the beloved is treasured. So these are portable remembrances before the camera so to speak. It also reminds me of the mexican ‘milagros’ – little charms of different body parts used to aid in praying for the healing of broken arms or hearts, or even eyes.
Compositionally speaking, the framed ornamental eye gives context and a reason for a floating third or fourth eye in a painting. It’s a device of conceit: a portrait within a portrait. For me, it’s an iconic symbol about the figure represented not unlike the reliquaries of saints in old devotional images. In this new series of works, the lover’s eyes are held by uniformed or exotically dressed figures that may have been away at war or estranged in some foreign land. Romance runs the gamut of emotions which can be symbolized by the language of flowers and even physically visible wounds.
“A Long List of Offenses”
10×8 inches, oil on panel
Rubens closely guarded his drawings as studio secrets and never showed them to the public. He thought they revealed too much of his labor. My own drawings often show a multitude of offenses and corrections… all of which are a visual record of how I think and compose. Drawings expose the evolution of one’s thoughts. Here is the compositional drawing for “A Long List of Offenses”