Welcome historians, frog lovers and all to K Space Contemporary’s latest exhibition, A Sense of Home. The whimsical show features a collection of works by local oil painter Ricardo Ruiz with echoes from the Renaissance.
K Space Contemporary, a non-profit organization located on North Chaparral Street in downtown Corpus Christi, Texas, arranges 18-20 exhibitions a year focusing on emerging and mid-career contemporary artists. The gallery is kicking off the year with the South Texas artist who started professionally in 1986 using a mix of mediums including sculptures, inking and painting. His art is influenced by a “love for Renaissance,” as stated in a K Space press release referring to the Northern Renaissance art known for realistic elements. His work also reflects Mexican American culture and family.
Ruiz has lived in Corpus Christi, Texas his entire life, only moving once to start his own family–he and his wife have two sons. The humor found in Ruiz’s parenthood and childhood has fed into his inspiration for A Sense of Home. When speaking to our publication for the 2023 Artist Issue, Ruiz stated, “When I was a little kid, we’d go to Mexico to visit family, where I’d see these little frog tableaus at the mercado. I always wanted one,” Ruiz said. “As an adult, I went back and bought a set, and came home and placed them on the table. I’m looking at the cute little frog and I notice it has a stitch between its legs and another on its mouth. This poor frog had been taxidermied and shellacked. And they suddenly became martyr frogs to me.”
Allegories are a constant throughout Ruiz’s work, adding a layer of complexity. He illustrates this in his latest exhibition by lacing his experience from growing up to investigating refugees and homelessness. Natural disasters, wars and persecution force people from their homes to seek refuge where they are not always welcome. These themes can be found in Ruiz’s pieces.
Over the years, Ruiz’s artwork has been housed in numerous private collections and museums. Richard “Cheech” Marin, a collector of Ruiz’s work, described the artist’s pieces as “everything Chicano Art should be–well-painted, familiar and mysterious.”
Coastal Bend residents will embark on a contemporary art journey etched by fabled allegories when navigating A Sense of Home. The exhibition is on display from Jan. 5 to Feb. 22, 2024. The gallery is free for all and open 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Wednesdays to Saturdays and 12-4 p.m. on Sundays. In conjunction with this show, the exhibition A Selection of Series Unearthed by Jenelle Esparza is also on display for residents to enjoy at the same gallery and time.