João Ruas’ paintings depict surreal moments of fantastical, unknown histories. Blending themes of mythology, warfare and nature, haunting figures exist in the shadows of austere landscapes, carrying with them both a sense of danger and serenity. His show GEIST will be up at Jonathan Levine Projects this month, showcasing a selection of these works. 

Author and collector Amanda Erlanson describes:

“João Ruas paints a haunting world inhabited by enigmatic figures and regal beasts awash in a maelstrom of mysterious energies. His explorations of the darker realms of the spirit evoke states of emotional turmoil, spiritual hunger and troubled passion. Weaving together history, mythology and cryptic symbolism in a misty dreamscape where twilight is ever at hand and the bounds of gravity seem optional, he describes an ethereal mythos that is somehow deeply personal and disquietingly universal at the same time. “

The concept for GEIST was inspired by The Phenomenology of the Spirit by G. W. F. Hegel (1770-1831), his first book that describes the three-stage dialectical life of Spirit. The exhibition addresses the constant connections and absolute truths that defy time and tend to repeat themselves independently of human consciousness. The artist elaborates, “This new body of work uses modern and ancient metaphorical allegories, religious scenes and historical characters to address attempts to change the inexorable universal pendulum of creation and destruction through endless ages.”