Donna Ruff

Mission_Female Founded

Donna Ruff grew up in Miami Beach and returned to the Miami area in 2015 after living in New York, and Santa Fe, NM. She earned an MFA from Mason Gross School of the Arts, Rutgers University, in 2000. She combines a social justice practice with her work, which is focused on current news stories, using images and text from newspapers and historical documents. Recent solo exhibitions include "The Subject Speaks its own Importance," Rick Wester Fine Art, New York, 2000; "utopia," Jack Fischer Gallery, San Francisco, 2000; "Extraño," Laundromat Art Space, Miami, 2019; and "Migrant Series," Rick Wester Fine Art, New York, 2017. Selected group exhibitions include "Spheres of Meaning," Philip and Patricia Frost Museum of Art, Miami, 2019; Florida Biennial, Hollywood Arts and Culture Center, Hollywood, FL, 2018; and "Times," Flag Foundation, New York, 2017. Her work is in the collections of the Victoria and Albert Museum, the Morgan Library, New Mexico Museum of Art, and the Yale Art Gallery among others. She was awarded a residency at the Deering Estate in 2019. Other residencies include the Santa Fe Art Institute, 2008-2009, and the Vermont Studio Center in 1997.  She is a 2021 Pollock Krasner Foundation grantee.

This series was inspired by a trip to Southern Spain, where Donna Ruff was captivated by the remains of Moorish art and architecture. Always interested in sacred geometry and pattern, the interplay between positive and negative space, and cultural similarities, she began to work with a matrix of circles and squares, using gold leaf and burning for works on paper, and printing in negative space on copper leaf adhered to wood panels. The paint used, Flasche, is an acrylic whose matte surface contrasts with copper’s shine. Each of the paintings start with the same matrix, incised into the copper, creating shapes for the artist to highlight with white, black and red. In this way foreground and background are of equal visual weight- an element that continues in Ruff’s work with newspapers and textiles.

The copper leaf is incised with a design of circles in squares. The paint picks out areas of negative space to create a new design- using matte/gloss, negative/positive relationships.

Year: 2018

Copper leaf and Flasche on wood panel

12” x 12” x 1"

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