Ruby Orcutt: Soul Praxis

Ruby Orcutt, The Practice of Wonder, 2017, mixed media on canvas, 48″x36″.

Ruby Orcutt’s paintings of “inner landscapes” invite viewers to contemplate ideas of well-being in what she calls “times of disbelief and pessimism,” and perhaps inspire subjective transformation. Through an intuitive process, she blends layers of oil, acrylic, and latex paints to create abstract, intensely chromatic canvases with echoes and chimes of figuration.

The series of new works takes inspiration from the field of positive psychology, sometimes known as “the science of happiness.” Founded around the turn of the millennium, its proponents turned against what they viewed as an excessive focus on illness and disorder within psychology. Instead, they emphasize applicable theories about well-being, fulfillment, and meaning in life.

In some ways, the rise of positive psychology tracks the apparent sense of growing anxiety particularly in Western societies. Orcutt’s paintings are hopeful gestures in uneasy times.

About the artist

Previously an artist and educator in Colombia, Ruby Orcutt holds a BFA from the Pedagogical and Technological University of Colombia. She currently lives in Derby, NY, and has been working as a mental health counselor since receiving an MA from Medaille College.

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