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.
~ Unicorn Publishing Group
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.”
~ Kelly Skeen
I am very pleased and honored to announce my participation in a group show of wonderful artists at the Museum of Spanish Colonial Art in Santa Fe, New Mexico. “GenNext: Future So Bright” opens this Friday, May 4 and runs through November 25, 2018. Please come and celebrate the opening fiesta this Friday from 5:30 to 7:30 pm.
“Girl and Goat at the Summit” 40×30 inches, oil on panel. Private Collection.
“Crowned Nun with Marmoset” 30×24 inches, oil on canvas. Private Collection.
The Meyer Gallery in Park City, Utah presents a solo exhibition of paintings inspired by classical mythologies in Ovid’s Metapmorhoses. Please celebrate with us on opening night this Friday, February 23, 5-7pm.
“There is a mad enchantment that possess the heart and mind when confronted by the possibilities glimpsed through visions of beauty and love…”
Santa Fe artist Fatima Ronquillo has created a body of work that is inspired by a feeling of intoxicating adoration. Her cherub-like subjects participate in situations of blind love set during springtime’s fleeting beauty. This ephemeral world that Ronquillo creates is filled with mythological subjects, blossoming flora and an enthralling innocence that is at once whimsical and nostalgic. The artist’s rich inspirations are derived from opera, literature and art history, allowing the viewer to marvel at Ronquillo’s classical techniques through a modern lens. “Painting in an Old Master’s style is difficult and engaging,” says the artist of her process. “I’ve been painting all these years and yet everyday I learn something new.”
Ronquillo was born in the Philippines in 1976 and emigrated to the United States at ten years old when her family moved to San Antonio. A self-taught artist, Ronquillo’s interest in art history and works of the past began when she was a child and continue to inform her painting style. Love, requited or unrequited, is a recurring theme in Ronquillo’s art and is portrayed through classical symbolism and magical realism. One symbol that is commonly found in Ronquillo’s work is the Lover’s Eye, a sentimental adornment that became popular in the 1700s with affluent families. Miniature paintings were commissioned to depict the eye of a loved one and were worn as a brooch or pendant with a decorated frame. Lover’s Eyes show up in Ronquillo’s paintings as reinterpreted historical references and symbols of infatuation. Another common symbol in Ronquillo’s work is the blindfold, which is often translucent to refer to the idea that while love is blind, it comes with an unapologetic awareness. The young cupid in “Blind Love” bears both symbols as he holds a Lover’s Eye close to his heart while gazing intently at the viewer through a sheer blindfold. Ronquillo laughs at this mischievous character in her painting. “He knows exactly what he’s doing,” she jokes.
Ronquillo’s lyrical paintings charm us with their innocence while drawing us into wistfully romantic narratives. Join us for the opening reception of “Mad Enchantment” on Friday, September 15th from 5-7pm.
– Kelly Skeen