Ruiz-Healy Art is delighted to present More Than Words: Text-Based Artworks II at our San Antonio gallery featuring works by Richard Armendariz, Nate Cassie, Andrés Ferrandis, Cisco Jímenez, Katie Pell, Ethel Shipton, and Gary Sweeney.
From autobiographical narratives of an adventurous childhood exploring the forests of Delaware in Katie Pell's work to storylike carvings chronicling lush scenes of animals personified as literary figures in Ricky Armendariz's work, the use of text in the works of these eight artists range from subversive social commentary to rapturous meditation. Text, a recurring hallmark throughout art history, demands we read the visual composition of a painting or sculpture and interpret bits of language simultaneously. Text pulls the viewer in, slowing them down to consider how the text and its imagery inform the other. Furthermore, the intentional use of text in artwork can serve to disrupt our passive consumption of media, both digital and analog. In these exhibitions, each artist creates work in undeniably unique styles and processes, all anchored together by the written word, granting the viewer an additional clue with which to interpret the works.
About the Artists
Ricky Armendariz's artistic and conceptual aesthetic is heavily influenced by growing up in the U.S./Mexico border. Armendariz is known for his hand-carved paintings, text-based imagery and his large color-saturated woodblock prints that weave anthropomorphic narratives with tales of turmoil. Spanglish, as well as contemporary and folk song lyrics, appear frequently in his compositions.
Cecilia Biagini creates paintings, mobiles, photographs, and sculptures inspired by traditions of Latin American geometric abstraction. Utilizing a bold sense of color, line, depth, sound, and abstraction, the varied works find commonalities in their composition and playfulness. Evoking ideas of physics, the geometric shapes in her work are arranged in a manner suggesting movement and animation. Some of her works are the result of a process limited to use specific tools and colors. With that configuration, Biagini composes sessions of improvisations to capture a moment of that interaction.
Nate Cassie's work includes drawing, painting, sculpture, video and digital media. His thematic practice centers on what he terms, "spaces in between," the gaps that distance surface from volume, skin, and structure, formal and intuitive systems. Cassie's text works employ the written word as an implied value that reveals figurative forms and shapes.
Andrés Ferrandis uses both intricate collage and sultry text in his signature style. His pieces are void of English and Spanish interplay, as he was born in Valencia, Spain and academically trained at the University of Seville. Ferrandis writes of his use of various media and text in his work, "My intention is to create a language that allows me to work, not from experience or a particular subject itself, but with the emotions that those diverse subjects provoke."
Cisco Jímenez's oeuvre consists of various media that expose the concerns of Mexico's social and political environment. Drawing upon the tradition of popular Mexican art which utilizes text as an educational, political, religious or commercial element within aesthetic objects and paintings, Jímenez creates his own icons, naming his paintings with humorous neologisms.
Katie Pell worked with media of all sorts, however, her true love was drawing. She used combinations of media and tools like text to expand the boundaries of what her drawings could relay to the viewer, often using text to reveal complicated thoughts and emotions. "I want to know where genuine living and role-playing intersect. Some of us build our own mythology out of our environment, desires and furious defiance at our genetic mediocrity. I hope my work can ignite the excitement of our pointless and forgettable lives, and reaffirm the value of our gorgeous desperation." - Katie Pell
Ethel Shipton's practice is informed by a strong conceptual base that encompasses text in a playful manner. Through painting, installation, photography, and text, Shipton spotlights instants of clarity that flit by in the comings and goings of daily life. Her recent works are visual displays of mindfully processing her recent artist residency at Künstlerhaus Bethanien, Berlin, Germany through Blue Star Contemporary.
Gary Sweeney appropriates commercial signage and found objects to create paintings, sculptures, and installations that humorously confront controversial topics. In his text-based compositions, he often uses linguistic puzzles and famous quotations to question the progress of society. The artist mocks the patterns of social Darwinism and exposes the discrepancies and contradictions in current governmental, economic, and social milieux.