"Trouble in Paradise" Ruth Formica, 2012

Ruth Formica

I paint improvisational still-life paintings using real objects and my imagination while not completely abandoning representational imagery. Flowers and foliage forms combined with a fauve-like, sometimes strident color, both inspired by Matisse, recently dominate my newest paintings. The space they occupy is both exterior and interior. I want that space—foreground, middle-ground and background— to blur.

When one “reads” the space in my paintings, it is not through color, but through recognizing the objects like plants, flowers, ballerinas, and birds that are created by the line in my work.  These lines are not always drawn or painted with a brush. A line can be as effective when it is the edge where two colors meet. I love the life of calligraphic line and its juxtaposition with bold and graphic patterns.

"My work can have a searching quality."

My work can have a searching quality. Color moves around the page making an oval or circular pattern of movement, like tides and whirlpools and the flow of water. Things float on, and most importantly, under the surface. As I apply the paint around the page, I think of my life, traveling, always looking, always searching and moving happily. I consider the abstract patterns on leaves and the twisting of vines and how they can affect my painting.

I want to steer my painting toward an imaginative and fanciful feeling. My foundation for this is an imaginary garden landscape touching on childhood fantasies that include ballerinas, birds and other feminine imagery. Ultimately, my conscious and unconscious goal is to create an image that is joyful and reflective of the pleasure I have in the act of painting. I strive for a tinge of humor and the bittersweet in my work, in the hopes it gains a resilience that transcends mere decorativeness.