ST. BONAVENTURE, N.Y. — “Riffing on The Masters,” an exhibition by textile artist Ruta Butkus Marino, is now open in the Beltz Gallery at the Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts at St. Bonaventure University.
Marino’s name is likely familiar to many at St. Bonaventure. She was the Quick Center’s senior curator from 2003 to 2007. She now works in the Psychology Department at John Carroll University in Cleveland, Ohio, after having served as curator of visual resources at John Carroll from 2010 to January of this year.
It was a 28-year career as bookkeeper of her husband’s family business, the Chandler and Rudd Co., a gourmet grocery store in Shaker Heights, Ohio, that inspired the present exhibition.
Marino uses a collage method of appliqué with commercial fabrics to combine ideasand images, often to humorous effect. She combines her art history background with her extensive collection of commercially printed food fabrics to create the collages.
Some of her food quilts recognize the work of the Italian Mannerist painter Giuseppe Arcimboldo, who created portraits of people using likenesses of food and other everyday objects. Another series takes off from a painting by Juan Sánchez Cotán, a Spanish Baroque painter of still-lifes.
Marino has found inspiration in works by such diverse artists as Sandro Botticelli, Andy Warhol, Henri Matisse, Jasper Johns, Mark Rothko and Jim Dine. She hopes viewers smile when they recognize the connections and visual puns.
The exhibition includes textiles hanging in the Quick Center’s main atrium, part of a series of quilts by Marino that honor her friend and former quilting mentor Lee Marcus, who died of a degenerative neurological disease more than 15 years ago. “Always exuberant and full of vitality, Lee taught me to think outside the box when it came to quilts,” Marino said.
Marino has worked as a librarian at the Cleveland Museum of Art Library and The Pierpont Morgan Library in New York, as well as editor of the Art Index for the H. W. Wilson Co. in the Bronx.
The exhibition runs through May 31.
Upcoming exhibitions at the Quick Center include:
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