Female power and femininity With Cindy Ruskin: Artist Spotlight
About the Artist
Cindy Ruskin is a self-taught artist who received her BA in Fine Arts (art history) from Harvard. Originally from South Africa, she lived and worked in New York as a teaching artist with low-income children for more than 20 years and recently relocated to Connecticut. In NYC, she devoted herself to community art projects including the creation of a large mosaic for the Lower Eastside Girls Club’s new building; she also ran the art program at Avenues for Justice, an alternative-to-prison organization for juvenile offenders.
While she focused on teaching, Cindy occasionally showed her own work, including two benefit exhibitions: a one-week solo show at the Matthew Marks Gallery in 2006 to benefit The Duk Lost Boys Clinic in Sudan, and a group show in 2020 at Fergus McCaffrey to benefit the Girls Club. In 2009 she was awarded a gallery space for a solo show in Times Square by the arts organization, ChaShaMa.
Cindy’s paintings were selected for three magazines this year: The Purposeful Mayonnaise, Clover and Bee, and All SHE Makes art magazine.
About Artist’s Work:
I’m currently working on a series of paintings about seduction in nature in which I imagine the hidden dwellings and “bowers of bliss” where nymphs, succubi, goddesses and other femme fatales — from poetry, literature, mythology and the Bible — lure the unwary traveller.
Female power and femininity in nature are themes that I return to over and over again in my work. This series evolved when a recent accident with my hand temporarily kept me from painting. I decided to experiment with symmetry by scanning some of my oil paintings into my computer, and creating mirror images of each one digitally, transforming the originals into Rorschach paintings. As I experimented with patterns and symmetry in nature – doubles and mirror images – these paintings took on new meaning, heightening the erotic secrecy and strangeness, while revealing the darkness that lurked within the lushness. As I added hints of feminine sensuality to each imagined landscape, the entrances to each enchantress’s web emerged.
What does “Home” mean to you:
Home is the place where I live, and I live mostly in the imagined magical gardens, groves and dells in my mind.
Home is also where I belong and, for me, that is in the arms of my husband.
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