Winter Rusiloski was born in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, and grew up in a rural setting outside of the city. Landscape was always important to her growing up on acres of land where she frequently explored her family’s property. Rusiloski grew up painting the rural landscapes of Pennsylvania and the northeastern coast. She earned a BFA in Painting and Related Arts-Dance at Kutztown University of Pennsylvania and studied abroad in Cortona, Italy with the University of Georgia. She moved to Fort Worth in 2002 to earn an MFA in Painting with a fellowship award at Texas Christian University and studied abroad at the Hungarian Academy of Fine Arts in Budapest. Rusiloski joined the Baylor University Department of Art and Art History as a professor of painting in the fall of 2016.
Since 2016, Winter Rusiloski has had 6 solo exhibitions and more than 30 national and international juried exhibitions, winning numerous national and international awards including best of show. Additionally, she has participated in more than 50 invitational exhibitions in the last 10 years. Rusiloski is in numerous public and private collections throughout the United States. Artspace 111 in Fort Worth represents her work. She, her husband, and six children live in West, Texas.
Tell us about the work you have in this exhibition.
Looking for Tires
60″ x 48″
Oil on canvas
This work stems from my initial trip to the Big Bend of Texas where I continually encountered tire devices the Border Patrol uses to clear foot traffic on dirt passages. The devices had such a great impact that I returned and specifically sought them out to photograph for my work. I have used them as the primary subject matter in several pieces. I have been working with my husband/artist, Angel Fernandez on a collaborative body of work, including sculptures, photographs, videos, and paintings such as Looking for Tires, which focus on themes from the desert landscape. We have a remote off-grid property that functions as a giant canvas. I work out there often painting from life, but also acquiring drone photography and video to inform my paintings. Angel Fernandez and I have worked collaboratively to choreograph videos where he and our children traverse the space and often pull and push objects including tires and other devices through the land.
What draws you to your chosen medium, what do you love about it?
My primary medium is oil paint on canvas. Given my background in dance, the oil paint has an amazing fluid quality that is reminiscent of gestural movements in space. I have always been attracted to the range of colors possible. My works always begin as gestural charcoal drawings on the canvas. These shapes provide an outline for the journey that the painting becomes. Once color is present I always return and accentuate forms with additional gestural lines with charcoal and oil paint sticks.
What inspires you to make art?
Abstraction, the landscape’s vastness, and horizon are anchors for my work. I interpret landscape through an exploration of spatial relationships. Journey and movement have been of paramount influence in my experiencing varied landscapes. Abstraction allows me to create loose narratives from memories and suggestive figurative elements within a Romantic landscape. Abstract forms, lines, and marks suggest reoccurring ideas of obstacles, barriers, and opportunities. I have explored this dynamic in the fusion of landscape painting with abstraction for the past 18 years.
For the past several years, my travels have included Niagara Falls and the East Coast, the South Texas border, and Big Bend for their sublime qualities. I continue to explore Big Bend visiting multiple times and making work on my remote property in Terlingua Ranch with an untouched landscape. The desolate landscape and extremes needed for a sustained existence in the beautifully dangerous region of Texas are diametrically opposed to the bodies of water that birthed my interest in landscape painting. Most recently, I traversed the country from Texas to Montana to compare the desolate Big Bend landscape and the life-filled green spaces in Glacier National Park. The remote location of the park, the lakes, and dramatic mountains greatly contrast the Big Bend. These experiences and memories inform my current work.