When asked to describe the work of Brazilian artist João Ruas in a few words you might not initially know what to tell since there’s just so much to it. With his unique mixed media technique João is able to create an eerie, layered and textured feel that’s unique to his style; a style both haunting and enchanting. Before shifting to fine art full-time, João was trained and worked as a graphic designer, a background that defined his amazing eye for composition.
João had his first solo exhibition, Geist, in the Jonathan Levine Gallery in New Jersey earlier this past Summer. The concept of the show was inspired by ‘The Phenomenology of the Spirit’, the most well-known book by German philosopher Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel. In the book Hegel explores the three-stage dialectical life of Spirit, a concept that resonates with João’s interests. João on Geist:
“This new body of work uses modern and ancient metaphorical allegories, religious scenes and historical characters to address attempts to change the inexorable universal pendulum of creation and destruction through endless ages.”
His latest work might be his best yet – dark, mythical and layered. The connection with traditional Japanese illustration is strong: from the intricate fabric patterns to the way João portrays the bodies of his subjects. Although loaded with mythology, symbolism and spirituality – the pieces are very easy on the eyes and visually appealing.
“I don’t really put what I do in the realm of the surreal and fantasy, in my mind everything I do is a collage of different elements around a initial spark that can be a phrase, a memory or a homage to other times. I try to make everything very real, grounded in day to day emotions but at the same time visually appealing.”
It’s the combination of the magic of storytelling, mystery and craftsmanship that make João Ruas one of the more interesting current artists, someone we’ll sure see a lot more of in the future.