lorna Ritz
  • Female
  • amherst, ma
  • United States
  • artist
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Profile Information

Are you an artist, arts organization or venue?
What town do you live in?
In which disciplines do you work or exhibit?
Drawing, Painting
Artist Statement/Bio
I received a BFA from Pratt Institute, changing the course of my painting life into pure abstraction, under the instruction of painter James Gahagan, who was a very important teacher for me. I received an MFA from Cranbrook Academy of Art, both in painting and sculpture, (working the 2-D concepts into 6’ welded steel, and casting in bronze). I taught R.I. School of Design, Brown University, University of Minnesota, and Dartmouth College, and was "Artist-in-Residence" several times at the Vermont Studio Center. I have taught painting, drawing and art history for four years at Western New England College, (my present position.) I have offered lectures at the Instituto de Belles Artes, (Medellin, Colombia); American University, (D.C. and in Italy); Humboldt State University, (CA); The New York Studio School, and the Institute for American Universities in Aix-en-Provence, (France). I have travelled through the U.S. Information Agency to Malta and Honduras to teach at the universities there, and my paintings have been exhibited through the Art-in-Embassies Program in D.C. in Africa and Guatemala, as well as at the Divinity Center at Yale University, the Bowery Gallery in NYC, Hillyer Gallery at Smith College, 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, MA. I had a solo exhibition at the Huntington Museum in Windsor, Connecticutt. My paintings were exhibited at "The Painting Center," (Soho), NYC, and at the Provincetown Art Association and Museum, and were included in a group exhibition at The Washington Art Association in Washington Depot, CT., in September, 2003. I had a solo exhibition at The Oxbow Gallery in Northampton, MA. 2004, and 2007. I had a solo show at ‘The Creative Center’ in Chelsea, NYC, in June, 2006, and another solo at Gallery Anthony Curtis, Boston, Massachusetts , 2007. My most recent solo exhibition was at the ‘Firehouse Gallery’ in Newburyport, Massachusetts, (2008). My paintings are collected by 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.), and Veridex, (NJ), and OSI Pharmaceutical in Long Island. I have three times received the Pollock-Krasner Grant Award, as well as a Kittredge Fund Grant from Harvard University. In 2001, I taught painting through the American University, (D.C.). in Umbria, Italy. In April 2004 I lectured at The New York Studio School, and subsequently taught a “Drawing Marathon” in October, 2004, and presently teach painting at Western New England College in Springfield, MA. I have been a “Guest Critic” at The Vermont Studio Center since 1991, (scheduled to return again this next year), and I was ‘cultural ambassador’ through the I’nternational Residency Program ‘at the Augusta Savage Gallery at U.Mass), to exchange ideas with artists in South Africa , 2007, a recipient of The Puffin Foundation Grant to work with prisoners, (teaching a painting workshop), a George Sugarman Foundation Grant Award, 2007, an Artists’ Fellowship, NYC, 2008, and The Haven Foundation Award, Maine 2008.
Describe your organization or gallery
I am my own organization!
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 be better than the idea in the first place. The painting has to have a life of it's 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 to it in each painting as I develop my skill. I enjoy the struggle and the search, reaching for the inaccessible.
A familiar shape worked out in the last painting gets obliterated in the new one, for it cannot have a name which has already been spoken. The search is always unsettling, completely passionate, radical, and driven, but it is the paint itself that guides me to a place of wonder. The complexities of every day life stay outside the studio. But what lives in my heart stays in the mere act of touching paint, that makes how colors relate be everything.
My creative process entails a whole lot of editing, (scraping and reapplying paint). 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. My paintings 'sing' through the light that emanates from the color combinations themselves. I 'listen' for the hidden secrets embedded in the paint itself, and to how it wants to move across the surface of linen. I paint and scrape and then repaint. 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 I never get it right the first hundred times, that it is necessary to go through the search process. Maybe by the 101st time the entire painting will finally get born by owning it's specific inner luminosity, its own presence.
I love to see open, breathing, moving space create an entry way deep inside the picture plane of the flat surface of linen. It is the act of breathing life onto the canvas that enables the paintings’ surfaces to be looked into, like windows or mirrors. It is the architectural construction of a painting that moves me.

I have finally earned the right to title a painting “Duende.” This Flamenco word has many meanings, all of them applicable, but what “Duende” means to me is 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 first-timed-ness, an experience of 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.

http://www.amherstbulletin.com/story/id/70926 www.lornaritz.com

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Lorna Ritz's Blog

stretchers for sale

I have just pulled off paintings from the stretchers to make space in my studio; $35. a stretcher: 66 X 74" sturdy pine, w/corners and cross braces, or 10 for $250. (I have about 60)!  email: lenajenny47@comcast.net

Posted on August 26, 2012 at 3:33pm

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At 12:04pm on June 5, 2009, Darlene Duncan said…
You have such energy and vivid colors in your paintings. I am enjoying looking at your landscapes as the slide show proceeds through the seasons.

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