The art of Ellena Rutsch is an electrifying journey into the world of paint. Lustrous, gritty, glistening painting that echoes nature and rides into the realm of imagination.
Here’s the good word from the artist: “My artwork has been described as ‘big, bold, and warm,’ and I rather like this description. Of course, to me they are not just paintings. I want my compositions to be true, vivid, and spontaneous, a reflection of myself. No compromise! My aim is not to please but to cause emotions. I’d rather have somebody hate my work than merely like it …
“Passion is definitely the leitmotiv! My paintings are almost like poetry to me, and they are closely linked to music, too. One could probably not exist without the other. Freedom is Mine (shown at left) spontaneously comes to my mind. I deliberately chose the climax of Nina Simone’s refrain instead of the title, ‘Feeling Good,’ because it totally reflects how I felt the evening I created this canvas. That day I made a hell of a decision and changed my life for good!
“What’s fascinating to me about this painting is that half of the viewers ‘saw’ what I saw when I painted it – an eruption of the Pacaya Volcano in Guatemala – but the other half saw some kind of Egyptian goddess rising from the ashes. It’s this type of reaction that I like so much.
“Other paintings, such as Crosstown Traffic Dripping Experience, carry the full name of a song. I love Jimi Hendrix and was listening to ‘The Ultimate Experience’ when working on this canvas, exploring Jackson Pollock’s dripping method for the first time. Although I have worked with ‘realism,’ I have found that abstract is the only form that gives enough freedom to imagination, interpretation, and rêverie – for both me and the viewer.
“I feel close to Zao Wou-Ki, a French painter of Chinese origin, and agree completely with his vision that ‘Ce qui est abstrait pour vous est réel pour moi’ (what is abstract to you is real for me). Just like him, I am of different origin. Born in Australia some forty years ago, I grew up in various countries in Europe, including Germany, Belgium, and France (and they are very different from each other). Although I ‘blend in’ as much as I can, I am also trying to hold on to my roots and to mix them with new influences.
“Occasionally, I work on commission, which I find extremely challenging. Recently, I was requested to create a painting something like Le Millénaire 2 – in shades of blue, green, and purple. Blue Moves (above right) was my second attempt, and Cosmic Girl (at left) was my fifth and final version. Orchidées sauvages is a by-product of this series (the second image, below, is a detail). In a way, it was born out of frustration. But it has turned out to be one of my strongest paintings.
“Last but not least, I have recently come to terms with the fact that I am no new Basquiat. But mixing acrylic with oil is what suits me the most! Only time will tell … stay tuned.”
And there’s much to be attuned to. Ms. Rutsch lives in Montpellier, France, where her work is included in multiple shows that began in June and run through September. The range and depth of her art are astonishing and Guest Spot can only offer a taste from the banquet. Close-up views of Blue Moves, Orchidées sauvages, Cosmic Girl, and Champs de coquelicots appear below. For the fuller picture, visit ellenarutsch.net.