Female artists in Puerto Rico have often been mischaracterized, both intentionally and unintentionally by the times specially in the 50’s and 60’s. Women artists ALWAYS faced challenges due to gender biases in the mainstream fine art world, mainly do to higher male artist population, is a true fact that female artist encountered difficulties trading their work, and gaining recognition in such world.
Puerto Rico is no exception, but one thing that Puerto Rico has never lacked in the art world is Raw Talent… Olga Abizu, Myrna Baez and Noemi Ruiz are without doubt the 3 most important female artist that Puerto Rico has given rise in contemporary times. They have three very different style Albizu dominated the Abstract Expressionist movement while Noemi Ruiz mastered the abstraction and Myrna Baez the complex world of light. If you ask me who’s work is more talented I would only say that beauty and talent is in the eye of the beholder, so it should come as no surprise that art lovers constantly will debate which painters have the greatest talent among them so you be the judge.
Extremely talented woman even Marta Traba once wrote, that Myrna Baez is the most qualified person that she knew in the visual arts in Puerto Rico and thats a lot to say coming from one of the most notorious art critics in latin america. Myrna Báez work is coated with an intention of affirmation in the Puerto Rican Landscape employing and abstract yet subtle point of view while maintaining that Criollo flavor to the paintings as she tends to apply a color definition which blurs the way to allow more focus on the light, her work has always had a mayor landmark which is an intense preoccupation with light through the representation of various ambiguous levels in her paintings… EVERYTHING is Light in her work.
Myrna Baez also is consider one of the top printmakers of Puerto Rico studied with Lorenzo Omar at his workshop in San Juan and in the Pratt Institute in New York, which in 1970 she would win an award for her Printwork from the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) In New York. Baez work can be seen in most museum collection in Puerto Rico and this Year “La Compañia de Turismo de Puerto Rico” is dedicating la Campechada in Honor of her work, is needless to say that Myrna Baez has done it all from studies in different foreign country, to one of the best Master Printer of her time, to even resident artist from the USC which earn her a Doctor Honoris Causa in the year 2000.
Abstraction indicates a departure from reality in depiction of imaginary in art and Noemi Ruiz say “My language is abstract” so is easy to categorize her as a modern abstract painter. The gamma arrays of color are ALWAYS part of her painting,which necessarily demands or calls attention to the central geometrical composition and two-dimensionality of all of her paintings. The paintings below are perfect example of her work which are strictly characterized by primary bright colors, in the integration of white and black grid lines clearly defined her radical approach to a more modern touch which provides a sharp contrasts of form and color, creating compositions that do not have to be tied to a realistic picture
In 1974 she won First Prize in Painting at the Ateneo Puertorriqueño Competition, she also studied lithography at the University of California, Berkley and a Doctors Degree at the Universidad Central de Madrid. Noemi Ruiz in my opinion is one of the top female artist from Puerto Rico since she is one of the few artist including Olga Albizu that has a sense of dimension and space which is communicated through the vertical or horizontal alignment of the composition and through color as light, rather than through complex details.
The BEST female abstract expressionist painter that Puerto Rico has given to date her work is extremely simple but complex at the same time. Her composition where arrangement of carefully balanced squares, rectangles and anonymous object shapes with a medley of small, packed juxtaposed color pattern. Her painting can be seen in top american museum like the Smithsonian American Art Museum, Private collections like J.P Morgan Chase Collection any many more.
To this date she holds the title for the highest price paid to date for a Female Puerto Rican painting which sold at Christie’s New York in 2014 for $58,000.00.
By Joey Medrano