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The elegance and power of the minimal in the art of Gerardo Ruíz Maldonado

By Edward Swift

Gerardo Ruíz Maldonado’s latest exhibition of paintings, wire sculptures and graphics at the Sortilego Gallery, Fábrica la Aurora, takes the word “minimal” seriously. There’s great elegance and beauty in the simplicity of a line, and Ruíz understands this, as well as the power of communication through only a few strokes of the brush. Even the color choices are minimal. Many of the paintings seem to be monochromatic at first glance but on further examination there is often the introduction of another color. The tones are earthy, like sand, clay, and rock.

Recent Work of Gerardo Ruiz Maldonado
Through December
Sortilegio Gallery
Section B, Fabrica la Aurora

There’s a quality both ancient and modern in this exhibition. I’m thinking of the simplicity and mystery of petroglyphs, the line drawings of Picasso, and the Sumi-e brush paintings of Japan. In these examples the power of the work lies in the absence of clutter. To achieve this the artist must know when to stop; when enough is enough; when one stroke more would be too much. The creator not only needs a sharp eye, but the confidence to quit.

In the West we all too often go overboard with everything. In the East minimalism has a long-appreciated history. It takes on a form of meditation whereby the artist and the subject merge on another plane while the work of art is being created. The goal of the Sumi-e artist is not to reproduce the appearance of the subject but to capture its essence. In order to paint a horse the Sumi-e artist must understand the animal to the extent that it can be depicted in thoughtful and yet spontaneous brush strokes. And in those brush strokes the soul of the animal is captured. Likewise, Gerardo Ruíz Maldonado works in harmony with his subject, as he has proven in this latest exhibition, especially in his paintings of bulls.

In the wire sculpture for the wall and table, he captures his subject, be it man, snail, or bird, with only the minimal amount of bending and twisting of the wire. Only one piece of wire is used for each work. This wire work is enchanting and graceful; it never falls into the whimsical.

Gerardo Ruíz Maldonado is a Mexican artist. He was born in Puebla. He studied at San Carlos Academy in Mexico City, and he teaches art in his studio adjacent to Fábrica la Aurora. His latest exhibition can be seen now at the Sortilegio Gallery in Section B of Fábrica la Aurora.


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