August 10 – September 4, 2020
Ragna Bruno: Corona Series
“The Mourning Wall ”
While the novel coronavirus wreaked havoc in cities around the world, including Ragna Bruno’s beloved Madrid, where she was born and raised, and where most of her family still lives, Bruno remained alone and isolated at her home and studio in Hancock, Maine. Here she created a series of nine 10 x 8-inch paintings that document her response to the coronavirus pandemic.
Individually, each painting in this series is a beautiful rendition of the harmonious palette and poetic mark making for which she is well known. As a single entity, however, Bruno’s Corona Series takes on a more powerful presence in the wake of this global pandemic.
When Alex Barker, a friend of the artist, visited the Gallery on a Sunday afternoon in July to see Bruno’s new work, he emailed her the following comments:
“On the wall, the nine separate works from the Corona Series froze me in my tracks. Each one rewards strict individual attention, but the wall as a whole affects me as a single work, which I dubbed ‘The Mourning Wall.’
“The panels, as I am tempted to call them, considered singly, draw me inward towards their private grieving. But taken together, they synergistically become a powerful, somber, dignified public memorial. Surely the grief-stricken would find their terrible losses commemorated, and perhaps even transcended, if only briefly.”
As Barker and I contemplated Bruno’s series that afternoon, he went on to comment that if the nine paintings represent the nine muses of Greek mythology, then the center painting is Melpomene, the muse of tragedy. Suddenly, Bruno’s Corona Series took on the many historical and spiritual associations of this magical number: In Hinduism, nine is considered divine. For the Hebrews, nine is a symbol of truth. Biblically, nine is a number of patience, harmony, meditation, inspiration, and the perfection of ideas. Nine is the number of heaven, and the list goes on.
If the number nine truly has magical powers, then Bruno’s Corona Series offers a space for quiet contemplation where one can take stock of the pandemic and find comfort in the wake of this tragedy.
Our hope is for Ragna Bruno’s Corona Series to be displayed in a public venue where “The Mourning Wall” will commemorate those who lost their lives during the pandemic.