Derek & Susan Hooks, Owners of White Stone Gallery

11/17/2006 ⋅


When it comes to fine art we’ve come across three types of artists: the technically proficient artist, the passionate artist, and the rare artist.  The rare artists are technically skilled masters of their mediums.  At the same time, they are passionate and they have to tell the story, share their beliefs or speak through their medium.  The medium that they choose allows the passion to have a full life outside of the artist.

Maria Tarruella is that rare artist.  Her work embodies the wonderful mix of fervor and excellence.  We cannot imagine the inspiration for her work being expressed in any other way.  For Maria, each step in creating her paintings is significant:  Mixing the pigments; watching the liquids combine with the powder; knowing that  each uniquely mixed color is just for this canvas alone and the remaining paint will be thrown away when the painting is complete –.   We had the opportunity to see Maria mix a color in her make-shift American studio.  As we listened to her talk about the process, we could not help thinking that this seemed a sacred process to her.  We felt like we were intruding on a private moment of worship in an intimate place where Maria expresses her adoration for our heavenly Father.  It turns out that the very act of creating each painting, even entering her studio to paint reminds Maria of the moment when Moses was asked to remove his shoes for he was on holy ground.  Maria does not like to paint in front of others.   But we believe she is not alone when she paints.

Maria Tarruella’s work is expressive and abstract.  Her work has an overall aesthetic appeal yet each layer connects with the viewer in a different way from her choice of papers for collage on raw linen to her use of pigment, iron powder, ash and wax – it all exemplifies her motivation.  There is also spiritual meaning in the way the layers interact with each other.  Maria Tarruella’s work transcends the visual experience and connects to viewers on a deeper level.

From a distance, Maria Tarruella’s almost seven feet tall paintings are beautiful, dynamic and powerful.  We have a sense of God’s glory and power bursting across her work.  In some of her pieces, we see water (a reference to Christ) splashing outward.  Maria creates a visual experience that changes as you move through the room:  Some of her metallic pigments are only visible from certain angles;  one layer, which looks like wind washing over the canvas, is only visible in the dark.  This serves as a metaphor for how we see God in our lives.  Sometimes he is not always visible; but he is always there.  In Maria’s paintings we start to see through the layers as reminders of everyday life: receipts, newspaper clippings, a child’s school work, a business reply envelope, etc.  In the Hope series, Maria reminds us of the presence of God in our daily lives. 

As owners of a gallery which specializes in fine art inspired by faith, we find Maria Tarruella has the ability to express her faith with significance, subtlety, humility and beauty.  She powerfully and effectively communicates the theme of her series.  As we write about Maria and her Hope series, we find ourselves grateful that we had a chance to see her prayers – layered in worship, service and reverence and visually amazing.

– Derek & Susan Hooks, Owners of White Stone Gallery