Rute Ventura is a multidisciplinary artist born in Lisbon, Portugal in 1982. She graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Sculpture in 2004 and with a Masters degree in Fine Arts in 2006 from the School of Art and Design in Caldas da Rainha, Portugal. Starting her visual arts education at António Arroio High School of Arts and at the Portuguese National Society of Arts, Lisbon, in 1996 and 2000 respectively.
In 2005 Rute received a grant for an abroad program of studies at the Accademia di Belli Arti in Venice, Italy. Going back to Italy in 2014 to learn Trompe L’oeil techniques at the Accademia del Superfuluo in Rome.
Shortly after moving to New York City in 2009, Rute started working as a Teaching Artist with the nonprofit Doing Art Together, providing art workshops for under-resourced crowds in NY City Public Schools and alternative sites. She is also affiliated with the Brooklyn Arts Council, the Romare Bearden Foundation, The Leadership Program, and Start.Social in Portugal.
Currently living and producing her artwork in Ridgewood NY, she is a member of ConArtist, ArtUnited, Openings, and New Art Brut, artist collectives, with an active presence in group-shows and organizing cultural events throughout NY City. Rute is also mother of a young boy, and a fashion designer of kid’s cloths.
The Pig-man Voodoo Doll series are wall mountable sculptures made by assembling materials and ready-made objects such as scissors pins and boxes, combined with the miniature felt dolls and its detailed hand sewing and embroidery work.
They reflect both historical and current men that lead nations around the world throughout dictatorships, abusing their authoritarian power to force suppression of opposition and to control of the mass media.
My Pig-men Voodoo boxes are a way to remind us of the atrocities committed by these men that lead or still lead nations with disregard for human rights. By caricaturizing their image and putting them inside these boxes as voodoo dolls I am placing them in a vulnerable position, mocking their image and empowering the people. Communicating the fragility of Democracy and the importance of a change in terms of leadership.
A project about compassion...
In my understanding ‘compassion’ is a feeling that one has when is conscious about other people’s needs. I associate this sensation with a sort of inner call or duty for helping others, not necessarily because I relate it with pity but as a result of a pure want to help others. I believe that everybody is able to feel compassionate, but unfortunately that doesn’t happen considering that the tendency is the opposite. Instead, people tend to be selfish; this is an option in life, whoever chooses this path become unaware that through compassion they would gain more in life than through selfish actions. “If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.” (Tenzin Gyatso). Being compassionate is about being conscious of the reality of others behaving kindly towards them. I believe that compassion requires an active position in which people help one another.
To this understanding it becomes clear to me that with the right energy, and through action, it is up to everyone of us to transform pity into compassion.
To make this project I challenged myself to direct my energy to an out-group - the people that I don’t know - the group out of my personal sphere of connections. To them I produced one hundred “Little Bags of Love” that I distributed in the NY City common areas or gave in hand. The bags as showed on the image above were made of black flannel with a colorful clay button, and had a message inside that said: “This is your little bag of Love”.
Being compassionate requires a huge effort, dedication, time, patience, kindness, education, brain, heart, soul, and the moment. To feel concerned about others without reacting to that concern can be problematic. The lack of reaction not only prevents us from help others but can also create a new problem expanding the previous one from the other party to our own. Rather, if one’s concern is transformed into action we might help the eventual situation with no harm done, most likely solving the problematic situation. So there’s no cost in being compassionate, on the end everybody wins. The cost is when people act without compassion: either not caring about others, or also, by living under the bystander effect, being conscientious of a problematic situation without the ability to practice any helpful reaction towards it.
We leave on Earth, this planet exists in its matter and we are part of its matter. Everything that we see and know of, and also the other billions of things that we don’t see or know of, exist. We get to sense some of them and we have the option of being more passive or more active with our lives. If we choose to be more active we get to better understand our surroundings and some of us will have the opportunity to transform some of the planets matter creating new things (everybody is always very much interested in learning about the new thing). Our brains allow us to be creative and sometimes even original. We are the ones who can decide what type of new thing are we going to make, if good, bad or of any kind.
As we learned aggression begets aggression, we are mimetic beings, we constantly copy what we see, when we want to, or even when we don’t want to. Our brain records certain powerful aspects of reality in an unconscious way, and later on, it reproduces them. Thus, to encourage others in acting more compassionate and therefore building a better world to live in, we just have to keep acting more compassionate ourselves. Choosing to transform the world into a better one, and creating a new reality that most people will want to live in. We should also stop living under the bystander effect and start calling out the problematic situations that we face or see happening to others, being active about those, without fearing consequences, because what is right will continue to be right, and that way the good will prevail.
I will be taking steps to elude conscientious minds to the virtuousness that we have and we are.
By: Rute Ventura
“Génese”, a creative conglomerate of artistic styles and opinions, by Rute Ventura, is a rich example of how the beauty of the natural process of creation can be represented in the reflections of the artist’s own aesthetic values. Aside from being an expression of the basic causality of life, with much attention to the primary stages, it manages to portray the essential strengths and weaknesses of our simultaneous position as wholly individual and multiple subjects. Attention to femininity is also present in “Génese”, where the female body is a reoccurring theme that reflects both the simplicity and beauty of feminine roles in society.
Rute Ventura manipulates our conceptions of early life in the womb in order to instill an enigmatic environment tailored to allow the viewer to both enjoy the sculptures’ form and placement while contemplating all of the biological processes that make us both detached-from and sympathetic-of our own development. Furthermore, her mastery of texture, as well as her selection of materials, grants the viewer a glimpse of how Rute Ventura has expressed beauty as well as technique in “Génese”, without compromising the theoretical depth of her work.
An impressive aspect of “Génese” is how it manages to stir feelings of our singular existence (the cessation of being either immersed or cognizant of society) while making the viewer more conscious of his or her connection to others. The artist does so by means of illustrating representations of our unity with others as well as the unity a fetus shares with the mother. Thus, when observing these works, one can feel equally intimate with his or her own autonomy while being reminded of the irrefutable connection we share with first our mothers, and then with the rest our world.
Finally, the artist has managed to give all of her pieces a mortal feel to them. The finite reality of what our development comes from and leads to is highly visible through her clean technique, attention to detail, material choices and overall aesthetics. Each of the pieces is relative to the other and equally captivating. Rute Ventura polarizes and unites theoretical prospective while demonstrating her artistic capacities. The natural textures, blended with synthetic materials, gives these paintings and sculptures the ability to create a wonderful ambiance; which in-turn, allows the viewer to focus on the artist’s objects as well as motivating critical introspective, and existential, thought.
Written by: Daniel J. Enxuto
. . . At first glance, seems to stir up some sort of theoretical awe. This immediate response may occur by means of a superficial idea about what busty dresses, leather, metal chains and buckles may symbolize - which is a sort of visual seduction intended to intimidate. Upon further appraisal, we may witness the development of Dis-function, as a reflection of social obligation.
In other instances, seems to be a project entirely based on visual stimulation and form. This appraisal comes from the simplicity of the fabrics and design, which project comfort and a return to the basic structure of clothing. Although simplicity as an aesthetic quality does not correlate with Dis-function as a theoretically binding median, it satiates its purpose as a sculpture and as an image reflecting a particular style or the taste in which the artist outputs.
What is the value of Dis-function? As a work of art, it should contain evidence of symbolism and a certain talent in which the artist exhibits to set herself apart from other artists. Aside from being an original work of art, it should also reflect some aspect of subjective, or objective, understanding, or incomprehension, of the self. In my opinion, Dis-function demonstrates legitimate characteristics of both the former and the latter necessary justifications for intrinsic value as a work of art. Seeing multiple subjects fused together with leather garments, giving life to the sculpture, portrays an obligation similar to the one we experience everyday, which is the obligation to integrate and sympathize with others and to the times by means of sharing the same space and the limited ways of expression (assuming clothing, for example, can be utilized as a means of expression).
The artist creates a space to be shared with her sculpture, while not allowing a by- standard to completely integrate with the sculpture without becoming a multiple- subject with other individuals. The use of clothing as a politically- correct way of homogenizing the subjects is a beautiful way of demonstrating humility, which we find every time we dress ourselves. This requires a certain level of talent and chutzpah on behalf of the artist, setting her apart from more conservative ideologies while maintaining a tasteful arena in which to portray her contributions to the art world. The artist chooses vivid colors and textures for Dis-function that penetrates the eye and creates a pleasant visual perception of the sculpture as a whole.
My impression of the clothing design is that it seems classical, and very simplistic, which takes me back to more wholesome times I have been conditioned to understand as being honest ones. Therefore, I feel as though Dis-function creates a reduction in distractions, allowing me to better communicate with the art and the theoretical possibilities that it just might be adding salt to our distraction- caused social wounds. This is a good example of a true paradox of our collective psychology. In addition to the lively garments and the way they seduce the cognitions, I believe that the quality and fashion of the leather used in Dis-function is modest yet effective. Its natural tones allow for a more organic look, which permits the viewer to, once again, reduce distractions, relax and observe the further realities of the sculpture as a whole. In most circumstances, leather is considered to be a rigid or erotic material, but the artists does a fantastic job in re- inventing leather, so as to add credibility to the work. On the contrary to restricting, this particular leather seems to snuggly grip the subjects in a seemingly unpretentious and comfortable way.
In Dis-function, chain links and metal buckles are used, in addition to silky cloth and virgin leather. Chains are also associated with the erotic, but perhaps better correlated with restrictive devices such as handcuffs or shackles. Typically, the layman avoids such devices. Buckles are symbols of virility and security, as well a being a technology that is very utile and conventionally used. The combination of metal chains and buckles may intimidate the viewer into double guessing his, or her, own insecurities about Dis-function. This may have been an unintentional byproduct of the taste in materials exhibited by the artist, or it may have been deliberate, so as to portray a theoretical possibility behind many frustrations associated with social obligation. For example, we may be bound, like the chains and buckles, to certain responsibilities and people due to a social contract, such as employment or education. On the other hand, chains and buckles may signify security and protection. We may juxtapose the unity amongst two subjects in a healthy relationship or multiple subjects on a football team, as they are also bound like chains and buckles, only in this case it is a positive social contract in which all parties agree upon agreeing towards a certain objective. These aspects of Dis-function make it more credible as a dynamic work of art, giving it great aesthetical and theoretical value. The artist has fashioned a world of microcosms amongst a banquette of gaudy, yet simple, outfits. Every aspect of Dis-function can be seen as a subtle excuse to question the value of such an artwork, yet always concluding itself with just paradoxes. Aside from its impracticality in most public spaces, Dis-function depicts a flash of life as a social animal. It is as wonderful to look at, as it is to decipher. The title of this piece justifies the matter of values as norms and values as ideologies. Although not seeming to be a norm, this work is a lucent example of a cross-section of existence in an ideological environment. Cheers to Rute Ventura for her hard work, vigorous planning and impeccable attention to detail.
Written by: Daniel J. Enxuto
On Photo: Luís Simões, Tiago Couto, Rute Ventura, Daniel Enxuto, Selma Totta and Sara Totta