"Born in Chicago, of Venezuelan and Guatemalan parents, artist and weaver Ruben Marroquin moved and grew up in Venezuela. He studied painting at the Armando Reverón Institute of the Arts, Caracas. There, he discovered a strong connection with textiles, which he furthered, traveling around Guatemala, making art from textiles and yarns found in the markets. Ruben studied textile and surface design at the Fashion Institute of Technology, and the National Textile Workshop in Paris. He has collaborated with the Metropolitan Museum in creating educational programs incorporating weaving, display and workshops of his fiber art and hashed work included in group shows at the Minnesota Museum of American Art, the Rijswijk Museum's Textile Biennial in the Netherlands, the Fuller Craft Museum in Massachusetts and the Hudgens Center for the Arts in Duluth, GA. He has also participated in numerous gallery shows including at the Ann Street Gallery, Newburgh, NY, and the Nikki Diana Marquardt gallery in Paris. Ruben participated in the Fairfield Museum’s exhibit, Handcrafted: Artisans Past and Present, receiving glowing reviews for a piece that reworks a view of Bridgeport’s Arcade Mall taken from a 1909 photograph. For the past 4 years, Ruben has operated an art and weaving studio out of a storefront in the Arcade Mall, with ambitions to build a sustainable business offering weaving workshops.
By David Green, Director of Programs and Membership at the Cultural Alliance of Fairfield County.
Ruben Marroquin is a fiber artist and a weaver. Marroquin's work has a great record of sales at contemporary art fairs. Marroquin's work has been featured at the Sculptural Object, Functional Art Fair in Chicago (SoFa), at the "Metro Show" and at "Pulse, Contemporary Art Fair" in New York City. His work is part of important contemporary art collections such as Mark Lyman's, founder of SoFa, Douglas and Wallace Dawson of Dawson Gallery and Michael Olszewski, Professor at Columbia College in Chicago, and that of David McFadden, previously Chief curator at the Museum of Arts and Design in New York (Mad Museum).
Ruben Marroquin received an Associates degree from the Fashion Institute of Technology in 2009. In 2011, he enrolled in Paris’s École Nationale Supérieure de Création Industrielle through a scholarship from the Foundation Carla Bruni-Sarkozy. His studio doubles as a weaving school for children and adults, and he has collaborated in educational programs with such distinguished institutions as the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
The New York Times, January 15, 2016
"More nuanced — and easily the most unusual item in the exhibition — is a work of sophisticated, byzantine embroidery from Ruben Marroquin of Bridgeport. The piece, which layers needlework directly over a vintage photograph of the interior of the historic Bridgeport Arcade Mall, brings the building’s architecture, light, shadows, and ambience into vivid relief; rather than just colorizing the old photo, Mr. Marroquin has texturized it, given it depth. “Embroidery has a special way of bringing an image to life,” Mr. Marroquin said. “Using it really turns a picture into a sort of diorama.”
Sarah Gold. At Fairfield Museum, Exploring Craftsmanship Across Centuries.
“Handcrafted: Artisans Past and Present” Fairfield Museum and History Center.
"Ruben Marroquin directly engages the notion of urban revitalization in Bridgeport Arcade Mall, an embroidery, multimedia piece that reworks a view of the Bridgeport’s Arcade Mall taken from a 1909 photograph. The building was one of the first glass-ceiling malls in the U.S. built in 1856 and restored and revitalized at various points, most recently in 2008, to include retail and office space. Taking a historic photo of the building as a template for the embroidery, Marroquin incorporates a photograph of himself and his girlfriend, the artist Liz Squillace into the finished piece, as both have studios on the second floor of the Arcade Mall.
Marroquin attended art school in his native Venezuela and later studied textiles and surface design at the Fashion Institute of Technology. He worked in the textiles industry for several years, weaving high-end samples for interior designers. Now Marroquin works as a textile artist and teaches weaving."
Fairfield Museum and History Center. Handcrafted: Artisans Past and Present exhibition, October 25, 2015–March 20, 2016
Ruben Marroquin – Piñata acróbata
The Dutch tradition of Sinterklaas (St Nicholas Day) has a rich history of eccentric giving: the gift-wrapping speaks volumes. Less personalized is the South-American piñata, a straw or papier-mâché form filled with sweets and gifts. Blindfolded, the designated person swipes with a stick to release the contents. Ruben Marroquin makes pseudo-piñatas. He uses bamboo sticks not to demolish, but to give structure to his wrappings.
In his most recent work, animalistic forms have materialized. His Zoomorphic Reliefs (2015) have so far come out in the flavours: Pork and dog, though there is some doubt on this one – Chien, Pas Chien. In 2014 Ruben Marroquin (1979, Chicago, Illinois, USA) made Habitat in which a hare (with some imagination) is very carefully attempting to free himself from his natural environment. While hare and pig are firmly encapsulated – the yarns form both body and setting – the (non-)dog strays more from its underlying colours and capsular structure. The fibrous animals are only one of the unusual roads Marroquin has taken since he has fully embraced the exploration of three-dimensionality. In his drive to “make textiles jump off the surface”, other works in the same technique have emerged (in order of exuberance): American Flag Etiquette (Fade Glory) (2012), Kite (2014) and Mayan temple Tikal (2014).
Ruben Marroquin, American-born with roots in Guatemala and Venezuela, discovered the avenue of textiles during art school in Caracas. Out of necessity a bag of rags replaced paint. While cutting, sewing and stitching Marroquin realized that the materials provided him with something he hadn’t been looking for. A happy coincidence or not, he has since – thanks in part to travelling around Guatemala and becoming acquainted with the textile culture in the land of his father – painted and sculpted with needle, thread and fabric, without per se becoming a ‘fibre artist’.
Apart from the expanding – literally and figuratively – (series of) works based on bamboo frames, Ruben Marroquin also ‘paints’ in low relief. He has his own weaving studio, he embroiders photographs, postcards and posters, and makes collages without eschewing paint. In one series he may limit his yarn additions to accents that give a pop of colour to the structure of a building. In another he may stitch more drastically, filling in or ‘line drawing’ over topographic regions with parallel threads. But he doesn’t stop there: in the political series Venezuelan Maps president Nicolás Maduro (The Great Oppressor) suddenly rears his head, and in Sign Language talking hands surround a map of Venezuela as two other hands pull some strings. In the middle is a small skull.
Visually the 'Marroquin-piñatas' have more in common with the flat – though not devoid of depth – canvases. Sometimes it looks as though a loom has gone haywire. An early work in this wind-and-knot-method, Purple Stripes (2013), seems to confirm this as it is still sober in terms of structure. Tightly-ordered, coloured yarns are stretched between bamboo sticks knotted together. In follow-up works, the bamboo has retreated to the underbelly in order to create an armature. With yarns Marroquin winds, knots and sutures a structure into a basic composition. After that he improvises the wrapping and tying, yet never in an unconsidered way.
In his newest series Ruben Marroquin imbues his yarns with a sophisticated freedom. By firmly securing the fibres to the skeletal ends, they "float".