2020 Monuments & Canyons Artist: Kari Ganoung-Ruiz

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“I have recently found myself intrigued by small bits of the greater scene; corner of a building, edge of a marsh, little glimpse down that narrow path. I prefer to capture these moments en plein air - to represent the essence of that something which made me stop and go back.”

Kari Ganoung Ruiz was raised at the edge of The Finger Lakes National Forest in Central New York State, which set the stage for her deep connection to the natural landscape. After receiving her BS in Fine Art Painting from Ashland University in Ohio, Kari and her husband Photographer Diego Ruiz opened a picture framing studio and Gallery featuring fine art. An encouraging response to her work prompted more space at the boutique to be used to display paintings, and eventually the move to a much larger location. Due to the increased visibility of the new gallery, the draw on their time became much greater and began to cut into studio hours. At this time, Kari began to focus on plein air work; feeling the need to learn about light and shadow directly from the natural world. In 2014, the couple moved the gallery online in order to allow both of them to travel and move forward with their artistic careers. Kari and Diego now travel the US, capturing the landscape as they experience it. Awards include Best in show Finger Lakes Plein Air Festival in New York 2017, First Place Quick Draw at Lighthouse Plein Air Festival in Florida 2018, and Grand Prize Two Rivers Plein Air Festival in Texas 2019. Kari’s work is held in public and private collections across the United States and Canada, most recently added to the collection of the Bureau of Land Management in Colorado.