Lorna Ritz holds a Master of Fine Arts degree from Cranbrook Academy of Art, Michigan and a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Pratt Institute, New York. She has extensive experience as a teacher, both in the United States and abroad, and has traveled through the U.S. Information Agency. The recipient of several awards, she has exhibited at Smith College Museum of Art, The Painting Center, New York City; the Fine Arts Center’s University Gallery at the University of Massachusetts, the Hood Museum at Dartmouth College, and the Fine Arts Center in Provincetown, Massachusetts, among other institutions. She also traveled through the “International Program” through the Augusta Savage Gallery to work with artists in the Townships in Cape Town. Her work can be found in numerous private and public collections.
My life is a story of painting itself, it’s universal, spiritual force through the visual language of color, which communicates to all cultures. My color combinations come from the experience of ‘seeing’ and memorizing what I see. My painting is ‘edited memory’ which uplifts spirits. The surfaces of my paintings resemble ancient walls, in that there is a sense of history alive in them, through the repetition of the “placement and replacement” of paint many times over. (I try to convince my students that they can’t expect to get it right the first hundred times, that it is necessary to go through the search process). I feel like I am at a construction site breathing life onto the canvas through a simultaneous building up and a tearing down of color. I love to see open, breathing, moving space create entry way inside the picture plane of the flat surface of linen. It is the act of breathing life onto the canvas that enables the painting’s surface to be like windows or mirrors into which to look. It is the architectural construction of a painting that moves me. A painting gets born when it has a specific presence that comes alive in it, that seems, for me, to come together only at the very end through the last accoutrements that come along so naturally and pleasurably, and fine-tune all that is already compositionally holding together, rhythmically tied. My paintings are not objectified; they don’t hold objects, but they do hold spirit, souls, and memory, all of which rise up in a form conducive to be said in paint. The paint finds it before even I do, that makes how colors relate be everything. My paintings ‘sing’ through the light that emanates from the color combinations themselves.
I explore ideas just as an improvisational musician finds his “lines.” The dialog between ideas lives in me like a fascinating story I’m telling. The painting has to have a life of its own unlike any previous painting’s life. I want to see what happens through the “chance encounters” I have with paint, ‘in the moment.’ Free like this, invention surges up and I paint out of curiosity: a problem area in the painting becomes a foreign country in which to travel. I continue to strengthen the major concept as it is forming it’s way to becoming “whole.” I can never quite get there, but I get closer as I develop my skill, over time. I enjoy the struggle and the search, reaching for the inaccessible, referential to landscape that is not overtly stated, but implied. A familiar shape worked out in the last painting gets obliterated in the new one, for it cannot have a name that has already been spoken. My painting process is always unsettling, completely passionate, radical, and driven, but it is the paint itself that guides me to a place of wonder. The painting has to be better than the idea, which was the painting’s original intent.
Each of my paintings represents a crystallized chunk of formal experience, as well as being very personal at the same time. My paintings are earthy, rock-like and weighty, and yet they have in them the rhythm of the sea. I am a nature painter; the nature “out there” coupled with my own internal landscape. My “inner” finds the equivalent “out there.”
I have a need to communicate personal experience, to send waves of emotion that look like the painting got painted with little conscious effort, having a quality of a time distortion effect, even though the painting took months of concentration to pull together into what whole impact it finally becomes. The journey is never over; I always see more to do, but then, knowing when it is time to move on to a new painting is an art form unto itself.
BFA Pratt Institute,MFA Cranbrook Academy of Art. Teaching positions: R.I. School of Design, Brown University, University of Minnesota, Dartmouth College,”Guest Critic” @ Vermont Studio Center 1991 – 2013. Taught @Western New England University since 2004. Lectured at Instituto de Belles Artes, (Medellin, Colombia);Humboldt State U. (CA); The New York Studio School, Institute for American Universities in Aix-en-Provence, (France), and have traveled through the U.S. IA to Malta and Honduras to teach at the universities: paintings exhibited through the Art-in-Embassies Program in D.C. in Africa and Guatemala, and Caracas, also:Divinity Center at Yale University, Bowery Gallery in NYC, Hillyer Gallery at Smith College, the Fine Arts Center’s ‘The Contemporary Art Museum” at the University of Massachusetts, Hood Museum at Dartmouth College, Fine Arts Center, Provincetown, MA. the Huntington Museum, Windsor, CT. Also; “The Painting Center,”NYC, Provincetown Art Association and Museum, Hopper House Museum, Nyack, NY., Kathryn Schultz Gallery, Cambridge, MA., Collections: Cedars-Sinai, (Los Angeles), Hale and Dorr Law Firm, (Boston), Bank of Boston, Johnson and Johnson, (N.J.), Anderson Museum of Contemporary Art, (N.M.), the Burnham Institute, (CA.), Veridex, (NJ), Mead Art Museum@Amherst College, Dana Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, Childrens’ Hospital, Nataxis Global Asset Management, Boston, Thompson Financial Management, (Northampton, MA). I have three times received the Pollock-Krasner Grant Award, a Kittredge Fund Grant from Harvard University. Taught painting @American University, (D.C.). in Umbria, Italy, lectured The New York Studio School, taught a “Drawing Marathon;” ‘cultural ambassador,’ (through the International Residency Program ‘at The Augusta Savage Gallery at UMass), South Africa , a recipient of Puffin Foundation Grant to work w/prisoners, George Sugarman Foundation Grant Award, Berkshire Taconic Artists Resource Trust, Artists’ Fellowship, NYC three times, The Haven Foundation Award, Maine, twice, and a Foundation for Contemporary Art Emergency Grant, NYC.