The large oil paintings, including diptychs and triptychs, together with some fifty-odd water-colours offer a vibrant account of the direction taken by the artist’s most recent work: the lagoon is seen as a metaphor of a continually-shifting space between spaces, between Venice, the sea and the mainland; whilst ships figure as a sort of extension of architecture into this aquatic space.
This is what the architectural historian Ennio Concina has had to say about Ruggeri’s work:
“Indistinct spaces of water, of lagoon and veiled ether, blue-gray, where image and shape, plot and motion are inscribed in reflections of light; with outlines of distant structures and ethereal geometries evoked beyond the glassy surfaces; or, at times, delineated on wet chalky sands and leached clays.
No-places. Waters, horizonless expanses, seascapes furrowed by wind: as seen by those who have become angels or gulls.
Slow flows – quick and sleeping tides – that pass into atmospheres of equally silent mists. Marine atmospheres – but also palpable veils of matter – with a vision of forms of the memory in mare aedificatae shining through them, dissolving in traces of saline light.
And the ship without sails is, equally, trans-figured, far from any shore and any harbor, tossing, without route (neither followed, nor lost).
Words of a painting that sails the sea of the eternal. The breath of the winds and the deep currents, the ship’s wake and the shadow of the keel signal less than a moment: ever since the days of the ancient wisdom of Proverbs (30:19), “the way of a ship in the midst of the sea” has been a wonder and a mystery.
Images – those of Ileana Ruggeri – both attentive and astonished: surprised images of change, which trace after trace compose and recompose, metaphors beyond the gaze.”