Last weekend, Sao Paulo based artist Joao Ruas showcased fifteen new works at Culver City’s Thinkspace Gallery with “VERSO.” With his 2011 exhibition “Yore” at the same venue, Ruas sought to recapture faded memories with a Greek mythological theme. Here, mythos continues to inspire work that explores the line between the cruelty and beauty of nature. Animals and classical characters like Godiva form a new cast in Ruas’s world. Nudes are delicately covered with animal skins that recall ancient, tribal civilizations, while other images depict the figures as strong, modern warriors. In this way, Ruas shows where the unforgiving side of nature meets human desire.
The range of media explored in “VERSO” is also unique, from highly saturated, monochromatic gouache and acrylic paintings, to pen on Polaroid reference photos. Most striking is a haunting light installation that reflects the shadowy figures in Ruas’s paintings. The entire space is scored by arrows as if under attack by the characters themselves, however elegant. This sense of timelessness is complemented by Karla Ortiz’s “Iluso,” which mixes the Pre-Raphaelite aesthetic of 19th century with a contemporary sensibility.
Joao Ruas and Karla Ortiz exhibit at Thinkspace gallery from February 1 through February 22, 2014.
Joao Ruas with his work