About Jane Ruggiero
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Artist, Jane Ruggiero, 45, has battled Bipolar Disorder since the age of 12, using her powerful mainly female portraits to explore the challenges she, and the one in 50 Australians living with Bipolar, have to manage.
Strongly influenced by the life story of Mexican artist Frida Kahlo, who suffered terrible injuries in a tram accident that left her in permanent pain from the age of 18, Ruggiero’s work explores the inexplicable ability of humanity to deal with suffering through the beauty of the paint brush which inspires colour, hope and imagination.
Many of her works render the female face, which is obviously based on Kahlo’s, with clown-like eyes and pink cheeks which, Ruggiero explains, represent “the mask that I put up, though less and less so, in order to make my husband, family and friends happy.
“I relate to Kahlo’s beauty, her sadness, her courage,” she says. “Kahlo’s story of suffering and artistic genius has influenced artists and lovers of art for decades all over the world. It’s work everyone in everyone walk of life can relate to in some way.”
Her unique style echoes the dynamism of the German Expressionist movement and, too, the simplicity of Naïve Art. She explains she initially draws her subject onto black cardboard with chalk pastels, then paints over the drawings with oils, using bold blocks of colour defined by black outlines.