"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 painting “Together” was featured on The Financial Times in the “How To Spend It” column by Victoria Woodcock on November 23, 2021. Will you fall for a ‘lover’s eye’ jewel? illuminates the revival of interest in the lover’s eye jewelry. It is a fascinating read on the history of the jewels, their newfound popularity and how to buy the real thing. Elle Shushan, a Philadelphia dealer of lover’s eyes and editor of the new bookLover’s EYES: Eye Miniatures from the Skier Collection gives her expertise as well as background on the Skier Collection of the jewels.
It is also worth noting that Ronquillo’s artistic world―which includes lover’s eyes whose subjects are black―is more diverse than the history of almost exclusively white eye miniature sitters from which it stems. Although Ronquillo’s work evokes the lover’s eye tradition, her miniatures are emblems rather than true portraits.
~ Dr. Graham C. Boettcher
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. The lover’s eye first appeared in my work in 2008 and it continues to be a subject full of mystery and delight.
The Meyer Gallery in Park City is hosting a group show featuring “Small Art Treasures”. It opens this Friday, September 24 during Park City’s Gallery Stroll 6pm to 9 pm.
Beloved, thou hast brought me many flowers Plucked in the garden, all the summer through And winter, and it seemed as if they grew In this close room, nor missed the sun and showers, So, in the like name of that love of ours, Take back these thoughts which here unfolded too, And which on warm and cold days I withdrew From my heart’s ground. Indeed, those beds and bowers Be overgrown with bitter weeds and rue, And wait thy weeding; yet here’s eglantine, Here’s ivy!— take them, as I used to do Thy flowers, and keep them where they shall not pine. Instruct thine eyes to keep their colours true, And tell thy soul, their roots are left in mine.
~ Elizabeth Barrett Browning “Sonnets from the Portuguese No.44”
Laurel wreaths have long been symbolic of success, victory, and peace. More modern symbolism of the laurel include that of poetry and academic pursuits. Crowns of laurel graced the heads of the Olympic gods and goddesses. It is most closely associated with Apollo. Apollo fell in love with the nymph Daphne and pursued her. She fled from him and metamorphosed into a laurel tree. In honor of her, he chose the laurel as his emblem.
I have long been fascinated by the myth of Echo and Narcissus. It was a story of unrequited love for Narcissus loved his own image and Echo loved Narcissus. I wanted something rather more joyful with with a pair of lover’s eyes and the jonquils heralding springtime and new beginnings.
It has taken a year to complete “The Watchers” lithograph print. I began working on the print in March 2020 at the beginning of the pandemic. In 2020 we released a monochrome gray print and now a year later Blackrock Editions and I are very happy to present the 14-color lithograph version. I adore the bright color palette of New Mexican turquoise and coral. The giant limestone on which I drew the image has now been retired, canceled and ground down afresh.
I never thought that a lockdown could have its advantages. In this case, it gave us time and opportunity to explore a side of lithography we never had the chance to do before. After completion of the small monochromatic edition of Fatima’s “The Watchers”, we began to ponder an approach to a color version and since Fatima’s painting style echoes the neo-classicism of a hundred plus years ago we reasoned a similar lithographic rendition would be appropriate. Jack (Lemon) has long been a fan of the Jules Cheret lithographs of 19th century Paris and suggested we follow a similar manner of working. The result is a 14 color lithograph not only in homage to old Jules but printed on the same kind of machine that would have been [in] use back then, our c. 1870 Marinoni Voirin Press. I feel the resulting print was a huge success with overlays and a saturation seldom seen in contemporary prints. It’s really a print to let the eye linger on.
~ Steve Campbell, Blackrock Editions, read more here
Unusually, I created the oil painting “The Watchers” after working on the print. I felt a deep connection to the subject matter and wanted to keep exploring it. The idea was born from my interest with 19th Century naturalist art and illustrations. In these works by artists such as Audubon, I found a fascination with the artist’s impetus to discover, catalog and illustrate the flora and fauna of the natural world. In the present time, with so many animals and plants becoming endangered and extinct, the desire is to preserve and protect. The black-footed ferrets in “The Watchers” have a precarious story. They were once thought to have become extinct in the 1970s. Miraculously, a tiny population was rediscovered in Wyoming after a rancher’s dog brought home a dead ferret. Through conservation efforts there are now about 700 black-footed ferrets. Their story is an inspiring tale of tenacity and hope, for in this case a species was rediscovered from extinction. In “The Watchers” the figure and ferrets are on their watch, ever vigilant for unknown dangers and glimmers of opportunity.
These paintings were inspired by the story of Orpheus and Euridyce in Ovid’s Metamorphoses and by Gluck’s opera Orfeo ed Euridice. Eurydice gets bitten by a snake and dies on her wedding day. Orpheus, inconsolable with grief, gains admittance to the underworld and his beautiful lyre music and singing of his grief persuades Hades to let him guide Eurydice back into the living. The condition is that she must follow behind him and he must not look back at her. When he sees the light, he looks back at her too soon as she is still standing in the underworld. She is immediately pulled back into the land of the dead forever. In the opera, Euridice pleads with Orfeo to look back at her and he is unable to resist. When she is returned to the underworld, he wishes to kill himself to be with her. Amore (Love/Cupid) stops him and as a reward for his undying love, returns Euridice back to life and reunites the lovers. Obviously I much prefer the happier ending in the opera version.
Che farò senza Euridice What will I do without Euridice
Dove andrò senza il mio ben. Where will I go without my wonderul one.
Euridice, o Dio, risponde Euridice, oh God, answer
Io son pure il tuo fedele. I am entirely your loyal one.
Euridice! Ah, non m´avvanza Euridice! Ah, it doesn´t give me
più socorso, più speranza any help, any hope
ne dal mondo, ne dal cel. neither this world, neither heaven.
~ Orfeo's aria in Gluck's opera "Orfeo ed Euridice"