Rob Pruitt’s Smiley Faces Will Make You Cry
The bittersweet backstory of the happy faces at de la Cruz collection
“Without art, the crudeness of reality would make the world unbearable.”
― George Bernard Shaw
Art is like a cure from pain, not physical pain of cause, but mental! The pain of loss makes us suffer and we desperately want to get rid of it, unfortunately it is impossible to do. When we undergo some troubles we always feel depressed instead of fight with them and think positive. Rob Pruitt is a perfect example of a strong-willed person, who really didn’t give up and turned his pain of loss into extraordinary art!
It seems like a laugh fest of good vibes when you ascend to the third floor of Miami’s de la Cruz collection, where hundreds of Rob Pruitt’s candy-colored panels display scribbled faces that look happy, content, or at least bemused.
The first hint that these cheerful visages are not what they seem is that they are paired with elegiac works by Felix Gonzalez-Torres that chronicle the loss of his father and his lover. These are one reason, Rosa de la Cruz explained, that Pruitt, best known for his pop-culture content, was inspired to mine some bittersweet moments of his own life for subject matter.
When Pruitt was growing up, it became clear that he was different from other kids, preferring art to sports.
Although the paintings seem to consist of a simple equation of color symbolism and quick, gestural drawings of facial expressions, ideally they communicate a deeper spectrum of emotion: sorry, lovelorn, excitement, envy.”
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