João Ruas, a painter based in São Paulo, Brazil, crafts ghostly, surreal scenes that blend mythology, warfare, and nature. Even his most peaceful works carry a mystery and sense of recent danger. In a new show at Jonathan Levine Gallery, titled “Geist,” the artist evolves these themes and process. The show kicks off May 13 and runs through June 10.
Greek iconography and other mythological imagery is present in this set of new images, in particular. A few years back, Hi-Fructose talked to the artist about what fascinates him about these themes. “It’s still around, not as strong as it was but it’s a great source,” he says. “ … The connection in literature is always there, but in the world of visual arts its presence has been severely diminished during the last century, I guess – and I may be wrong – because of the intense use of myths between the 16th and 19th centuries. A prejudice was created by modernists, classic art and mythology as a theme were almost synonymous and this is exactly the point where writers can teach us: mythology is not only a theme but also a medium.”
The artist has also worked in illustration, with clients like Wired, Playboy, The New Republic, Vertigo/DC Comics, and MONDO Posters. He worked for studios in the U.K. and Brazil before forging a career on his own, creating mostly personal work.