Maja Ruznic

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Yarrow and a Crooked Thumb, 2017 Oil On Canvas 72x60 Inches
The Poet, the Mother and the Search, 2017 Oil On Canvas 96x72 Inches © ACME Gallery
Arrival, 2017 Oil On Canvas 68x40 Inches
Bone Waltz, 2017 Oil On Canvas 72x60 Inches
Moon Kisses, 2016 Oil On Canvas 24x17 Inches © Maja Ruznic
Shelter, 2016 Oil On Canvas 24x24 Inches © Jack Fischer Gallery
Getting All the Nots Out, 2016 Oil On Canvas 67x63 Inches © Maja Ruznic
Squeezing Out the Last Drop, 2016 Oil On Canvas 60x40 Inches © Maja Ruznic
One Last Look, 2016 Oil On Canvas 20x16 Inches © Maja Ruznic
The Wailing Sisters, 2016 Oil On Canvas 78x70 Inches © Maja Ruznic
The Water Fetcher, 2016 Oil On Canvas 15x13 Inches © Maja Ruznic
Self Portrait (Twitching Eye), 2016 Oil On Canvas 19x17 Inches © Maja Ruznic
Tickle Torture, 2016 Oil On Canvas 48x36 Inches © Maja Ruznic
After the Apology, 2016 Oil On Canvas 48x30 Inches © Maja Ruznic
And the Sun Burned It Away, 2016 Oil On Canvas 26x24 Inches © Maja Ruznic
Redemption March, 2016 Oil On Canvas 60x48 Inches © Jack Fischer Gallery
Second Thoughts on First Departures, 2016 Oil On Canvas 67x54 Inches © Jack Fischer Gallery
The Stone Cold Assassin and His Stone Cold Capture, 2016 Oil On Canvas 32x26 Inches © Jack Fischer Gallery
Ancestral Nibbles, 2016 Oil On Canvas 72x60 Inches © Jack Fischer Gallery
Quick Facts
Birth year
Lives in
Roswell, NM
Works in
Roswell, NM
University of California Berkeley, 2006, BA Art Practice
California College of the Arts, 2009, MFA
Representing galleries
Galerie d'Ys (Brussels, Belgium)
mixed-media, installation, landscape, performance, modern, graffiti/street-art, figurative, conceptual, sculpture
Soil As Witness


Maja Ruznic, a prolific and active artist, is primarily a painter, a storyteller who conjures form and narrative from ground up mineral, smeared oil, and stained canvas. Born in Bosnia and Hercegovina in 1983, Ruznic immigrated to the United States with her family in 1995, settling on the West Coast where she eventually went on to study at the University of California, Berkley, later receiving an MFA from the California College of Arts. Ruznic’s often-quoted biography – a refugee who escaped the Bosnian War – is only the beginning of her journey. Ruznic’s vivid paintings speak for themselves, depicting figures that seem to emerge from the caverns of human history, from within their own supports, and somehow from within the viewer’s own recollections. These paintings breach something intrinsically human and Ruznic guides us deftly with dark humor and complex representations, not dissimilar to Werner Herzog’s wry, but poignant 3-D documentary depicting the oldest painted images in the world. The power of Ruznic’s vision can be evidenced in her myriad accomplishments: she has recently shown her work at Carmen Wiedenhoeft Gallery in Denver, Galeri G-Art in Istanbul, MASS Gallery in Austin, Galerie Ernst Hilger in Vienna, Arc Gallery in San Francisco, and locally at Charlie James Gallery, the Torrance Art Museum, Shulamit Nazarian Gallery, and most recently as part of MAIDEN LA. Ruznic’s work has been written about extensively, most notably in JuxtapozSan Francisco Bay GuardianStudio Visit Magazine, and twice in New American Paintings, including the cover as selected by curator Anne Ellegood.  In the summer of 2017, Ruznic received the Alfred and Trafford Klots International Program for Artists award, a two-month residency in Brittany, France.  Most recently, she was a finalist for the Richard Diebenkorn Teaching Fellowship, awarded in partnership with the San Francisco Art Institute and the Headlands Center for the Arts in San Francisco, CA.  


In this new body of work, I return to large-scale oil painting after five years of working solely with water-based media. I conceive of the landscape as a body, just as I do the figures that it spontaneously generates.  Relying on color, rather than line I create a community of psychopomps- intermediary figures who transport dying souls from this world to the next.  Soothers of discomfort, these exhausted bodies represent intergenerational trauma and how it is manifested in the flesh.   I rub the paint into the surface of the canvas to create stains that compel new figuration or signal forgotten histories and the implied absence of who or what might have been.  The paint bleeds and washes over these bodily forms and personalities who are without clear boundary; they are made up of all that surrounds, skin porous and memory infinite.  A fear of contagion floats somewhere between the figures, perhaps subtly beneath fields of color, and is responsible somehow for their terrible mistakes and bad behavior.  I use color to speak about this fear and allow gesture to be the narrative.  


born in Bosnia & Hercegovina, 1983


BFA Univeristy of California, Berkeley, Berkeley, CA, 2005

MFA California College of Arts, San Francisco, CA, 2009



Avet, Conduit Gallery, Dallas, TX 


Phantom Caravan, duplex100m2, Sarajevo, Bosnia & Hercegovina 


The Wailing Sisters, CES Gallery, Los Angeles

Soil As Witness, Jack Fischer Gallery, San Francisco


Yellow Throat Ribs, Galerie d’YS, Brussels, Belgium

Untitled, Candyland Gallery, Sweden


Like Little Miracles, They Shimmered, Conduit Gallery, Dallas, Texas


Messengers, Trailer Park Proyects, Puerto Rico



The Boogeyman Is Here, Maja Ruznic and Luz Maria Sanchez, She Works Flexible, Houston, TX

Lonely Hunters, Maja Ruznic and Ranee Henderson, Eastside International, Los Angeles


Refuge, Maja Ruznic and Nina Kluth, Born Gallery, Berlin, Germany

Among The Missing, Maja Ruznic and Joshua Hagler, Jack Fischer Gallery, San Francisco

Tender Remains, Maja Ruznic and Yevgeniya Mikhailik, Bustamante Gallery, Los Angeles



Tickle Torture, BEERS London, London, UK


By the River, ACME, Los Angeles, CA

Phantom Limb, Shulamit Nazarian Gallery, Los Angeles

Werewolf, Charlie James Gallery, Los Angeles

Between Worlds, Arc Gallery, San Francisco


YIA Art Fair, Galerie d’Ys, Paris

Sincerely Yours, Torrance Art Museum, Torrance, CA

Painting Is Dead?!, Figure One, Champaign, IL

Angeles With Dirty Faces, Galerie Ernst Hilger, Vienna Austria


“I” in their Own Words, Galeri G-Art, Istanbul, Turkey

Boundary Battle, organized by RedLine and on view at Carmen Wiedenhoeft Gallery, Denver, Colorado

Exquisite Corpse, MASS Gallery, Austin, TX


3-person show with Martin Assig and Eleanor Moreton, Galerie Vidal St.Phalle, Paris, France

Four Squared Alumni Show, Arc Gallery, San Francisco

What The Mouth Sees, Alter Space, San Francisco


What’s Left Behind, Alter Space, San Francisco

Active, Michael Rosenthal Gallery, San Francisco


Figure 8, HANG Art Gallery, San Francisco

Cries of San Francisco, Southern Exposure Gallery, San Francisco

Perfect Place/No Place: Re-Imagining Utopia, MicroClimate Collective, San Francisco


Dollhouse (Juried exhibition by Jack Fisher) Arc Gallery, San Francisco

Til Death Do Us Part, Heist Gallery, San Francisco

Borders, Rootdivision, San Francisco, CA

The American Orifice, arttransponder, Berlin, Germany

Works That Disturb The Moonlight, Alphonse Berber Gallery, Berkeley, CA


Summer Group Exhibition, Rod Pulliam Gallery, Portland, OR

MFA Thesis Exhibition, California College of the Arts, San Francisco, CA


-PAMM pick awarded by Perez Art Museum curator Maria Elena Ortiz during the Pulse Contemporary Art Fair in Miam

-2014 Dave Bown Projects - 9th Semiannual Competition (Curators: Steven Matijcio, Dominic Molon, Marina Pacini) Award of Excellence (Unrestricted monetary award)

-Featured Artist in JUXTAPOZ magazine, Septemeber 2014 issue

-Featured in New American Paintings, Pacific Coast Section No.109

-Featured in Studio Visit Magazine in 2013, volume 22, page 139

-Appeared on the cover of New American Paitings, Pacific Coast Setion No.97

-Voted as a “Noteworthy Artist” in 2011 by Anne Ellegood, senior curator of HAMMER Museum (Los Angeles)

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