Digging Into the Interdisciplinary Practice of Roni Sherman Ramos

“I always think that my work speaks for itself, because I’m really a traditional painter.” -Roni Sherman Ramos

It’s morning, and shafts of light are pouring in through the windows of Ramos’ Brooklyn studio. Paintings on canvas jostle for attention with nearby works on paper, while ceramic works fill the remaning space. I carefully step through the space, afraid to awaken the spirits seemingly captured in Ramos’ elevated works: nighttime scenes – or are they abstractions with flecks of bright light winding through them? – share a wall with vibrant ochre red compositions that seem to leap for joy at being created. Ramos is studious – rarely a season goes by when she’s not pursuing professional development to deepen her understanding of her artistic practice. She is also reflective and thoughtful, ruminating on the painters and other interdisciplinary artists she has taken absorbed wisdom from. We spoke in November 2019 as she was celebrating the results of a recent trip to the kiln, diving into both her paintings – where her traditional roots lie as an artist – along with her work in the expanded field.

“Reflections” Roni Sherman Ramos, 36×36″ oil on linen

Roni Sherman Ramos: Even though my work is abstract, there are always elements viewers can understand…from a representational standpoint. People are always seeking familiar things in artworks – especially if they are abstract (works). I like to give viewers the freedom to find a mountain, or a face… before recently, I wasn’t even titling my work so that it could speak for itself. I’ve come to realize my work is rooted in nature and rooted in the land, and it has elements of land-driven [representation]… so I’m now calling these paintings abstract landscapes. Now, I’m embracing this impulse toward nature: it looks like nature to me, there’s no denying it.

ANTE. Mag: That’s a big leap!

RSR: Right, I’ve always tried to disguise this impulse before. I can deny it, and put lines through it or..

AM: …cover it in markings or…

RSR: …right or cover these in markings, or disguise it. But it remains. My process is a process of destroying, and re-inventing and resurrecting, as Amy Sillman says. I work in layers – sanding, scraping, destroying and then building [the work] up again and finding things from the past that rise to the surface, then making new marks.  What I strive toward is making sure there are a variety of marks: places where the eye can rest, and places where color leads the eye…agitation is present on other areas of the canvas. Tension and relationships are built through marks across the canvas. I include impasto as well in my works.  There’s always contrast – my work includes defined shapes and diffused shapes. Textures are also very important to me.

“Earth Wind Fire” Roni Sherman Ramos, 24×18″ oil on linen

AM: Can you walk us through your process? Some of the recent works from this Fall have almost an action-painting sensibility, showing brushstrokes and emblazoned areas of texture and scratches…

RSR: Marks and mark-making are both important parts of my practice. Texture as I mentioned is very important. I also love the work of Jackie Saccoccio, I’m a fan of her paint-drip heavy style and sometimes incorporate a similar sensibility but not always.

AM: Is there a new direction you’ve embarked on lately in your work? 

RSR: Lately with my oil paints I’ve incorporated using a heat gun into my process, using the heat gun on the freshly painted coat of oil on linen and exposing a bit of the layers below. This adds areas that build that feeling of agitation, I’ve learned to be careful when I use it as it takes a light touch.

AM: Is this the first time you’ve used the heat gun in your process?

RSR: I’ve used it before to dry water-based mediums, but this is the first time I’ve used it in my oils.

AM: Tell us about the works we are seeing here (featured in this article): are these all recent works? Say from the past two years?

RSR: These are all recent works, but honestly my paintings take a long time to make. Often I think I have control over the process, but eventually I realize the process has control over me. This is just what happens organically: you don’t always know what will happen or how you’ll do something that you’ll like

AM: So is this freeing for you or is it nerve wracking?

RSR: I like the serendipity of it, to a certain degree. Sometimes it’s disappointing but that’s ok, I know I can keep on going but it can take months until I see what I like. I always have more than one work in progress at any given time.

-ANTE. Mag

 

Damien Davis Empowers Discourse at LatchKey Gallery’s UNTITLED (Booth A7)

Foregrounding the artist’s upcoming pivotal show with the enduring, emblematic Weeksville Heritage Center in Brooklyn, NY, “Collapse: Black Wall Street Study” by Damien Davis marks the artist’s inaugural solo showing with LatchKey Gallery at UNTITLED (Miami Beach – Beach @ 12th) and a powerful investigation of materiality and conceptual rigor. The artist’s research-based practice upends conventional understandings of African-American history, revealing the narratives commonly buried under the surface. “Collapse: Black Wall Street Study” is on view for the duration of UNTITLED at Booth A7 (Dec 4-8, 2019.)

 

Above details from Damien Davis’ “Pre-Check (Blackamoors Collage #280)” Laser-cut plexiglas and stainless steel hardware, 14x10x2″

Davis’ works embrace a keen grasp of formal composition, embedding careful details into meticulously cut plexiglas shapes attached using metal fasteners. These industrial materials allude to the lexicon of labor intrinsically tied into entrenched views of African-American history, outmoded means of regarding black Americans still haunting our contemporary society. Davis draws from a pared-down color palette and specific, enduring iconography intrinsic to both the Black and Southern vernaculars – images that question where these two identities overlap, as well as their points of divergence. Davis himself speaks of discrete images – separate and distinct – that define his installations, drawing each element into conversation with an overarching whole, yet making distinct boundaries palpable for these works on view at UNTITLED – and later the Weeksville site.

LatchKey Gallery presents this new series by Damien Davis which visually investigates the murder of a minimum of three hundred black residents of Greenwood, Oklahoma in the early 1920s. As we near the hundredth anniversary of this massacre, COLLAPSE: Black Wall Street Study seeks to create new means of entering into a dialogue on the progress that has (or has not) been made with regards to civil rights, representation, visibility, and reparations for descendants of former slaves. Davis does not shy away from the tough conversations, yet invites others to respond authentically and inquisitively to his work. The artist will host an on-site activation of his work every day during the UNTITLED show hours at 4 pm exactly, while the artist will be in conversation with curators Natalya Mills and Larry Ossei-Mensah on Dec 6 at 2 pm.

Damien Davis, “Muddy (Blackamoors Collage #301″ Laser-cut plexiglas and stainless steel hardware, 12.5x10x2”

Damien Davis is a Brooklyn-based artist. Born in Crowley, LA and raised in Phoenix, AZ, Davis centers his practice in historical representations of blackness by unpacking the visual language of various cultures. The artist investigates how these societies code and decode representations of race through craft, design and digital modes of production. Davis has shown at The Whitney Museum of American Art, Museum of Modern Art, Museum of Arts and Design, and Sugar Hill Children’s Museum of Art and Storytelling among others. He has also presented solo exhibitions in Philadelphia and Seattle, as well as Reading Pennsylvania and Richmond, Virginia, and his work has been included in group exhibitions across the US as well as in Hiroshima, Japan and Florence, Italy.

 

Damien Davis, “Homegoing Letters (Blackamoors Collage #282″ Laser-cut plexiglas and stainless steel hardware, 10.5×12.5×2”

For further information, please contact Amanda Uribe or Natalie Kates at info@latchkeygallery.com.

 

Life Living Life Photography Exhibit, In the Giving Spirit, Supports Ghana Make a Difference

With an opening reception held on Tuesday, Nov 26 from 6:30-9 pm, “Life Living Life,” will debut exhilirating international photography by father-son duo Dr. Alan Sloyer and Michael Sloyer. The pop-up exhibit, located at 498 Broome Street, will be open for visitors from 10am to 7pm daily and features photography for sale, with 100% of the proceeds benefiting international nonprofit Ghana Make a Difference. 
Please RSVP to attend the opening evening festivities on Tuesday, Nov 26 from 6:30-9 pm, featuring sriking photography, music, and refreshments provided by Wine Dog Imports and Four Fox Saké.  This is the artists’ premiere dual exhibition in New York City, with photographs on view reflecting the rich diversity of human culture and natural environments in Africa, Asia, the Americas, and beyond.
Above/Below: Snowfall (New York City) by Michael Sloyer and Lavender Fields (France) by Alan Sloyer both on view for “Life Living Life”, Nov 26-Dec 8 at 498 Broome

Emphasizing the indigenous beauty scattered the world over, the Sloyers reveal the stunning links between disparate cities, regions and continents in quiet moments of contemplation. These compelling photographs delicately weave together the narratives that form everyday life for residents of diverse areas of the globe.”Life Living Life” is the rare exhibit which celebrates our communal unity and diversity through the medium of photography.

Michael Sloyer is a Tokyo and New York-based photographer dedicated to making the world a better place through his photography. By capturing humanity and the natural environment through a fuller range of available light, Sloyer’s photographs provide insight into the emotional essence distilled in the moment. These considerations elevate the viewer’s experience from simple observation to a more sensual and introspective reflection. Michael also takes great interest in spontaneous street portraiture. From stoop-sitting elders in Old Havana, to shoemakers in the bazaars of Istanbul and children running through the streets of Old Delhi, Michael seeks to capture “life living life.”

Dr. Alan Sloyer is an award-winning, New York-based photographer who specializes in travel, landscape, and street photography. Alan took up traveling early, and his parents always preached that “travel is the best education.” Alan’s photos have appeared in many publications including the New York Times, New England Journal of Medicine, Chronos, Annals of Internal Medicine, and Shutterbug Magazine. One of his photos was also selected by Nikon for its holiday card for North and South America. Alan has been fortunate to travel around the world to unique destinations and has experienced adventures in more than 70 countries

Above/Below: Cistern Basilica (Istanbul) and Commuter Train (Sri Lanka) by Michael Sloyer both on view for “Life Living Life”, Nov 26-Dec 8 at 498 Broome

On view from Nov 26 – Dec 8, 2019, “Life Living Life” is an exhibit that captures the beauty latent in both the everyday and the exotic – all in the name of benefiting those in Ghana who are most in need. Come to the opening reception on Nov 26 at 498 Broome Street from 6:30-9 pm to witness this stunning survey of humanity in person!

Ghana Make a Difference (GMAD) is a US registered 501(c)(3) organization that is dedicated to sustainably improving the lives of the children of Ghana by providing shelter, job training, education, and medical care. GMAD’s philosophy is centered around preserving families and providing a path to self-reliance for the people it serves.

Artist Y.R. Egon Translates Longing Into Paintings

Y. R. Egon (Ruchira Amare) cuts a stylish, erudite figure.

Based in Brooklyn, NY, the artist arrived on the New York scene from her native Mumbai with an artistic and creative practice balancing influences from Europe and her native India. Her creative leanings are underpinned by a formidable education background in Engineering and Fashion Design. Learning under established Mumbai-based artists while concurrently pursuing a degree in Engineering from the University of Mumbai, Egon distills a wide range of influences into her impressionist, yet geometrically balanced, paintings. The artist holds a Fashion Design degree from the Parsons School of Design.

The artist sat down with ANTE. to discuss themes running through her work and what’s upcoming for her on the heels of exhibitions at Dacia Gallery, Six Summit Gallery, Rochester Contemporary Art Center and The Greenpoint Gallery.

Painter Y R Egon

ANTE.: Your work shows formal qualities linking to modernist greats such as Piet Mondrian. Do you see your practice as continuing a dialogue with modern abstract artists from the mid-20th century? 

Y.R.: I agree – yes. I have always followed Mondrian, Kazimir Malevich, Mark Rothko and Wassily Kandinsky. As Mondrian once said, “Abstract art is not the creation of another reality but the true vision of reality.” I try to have my own language and to express my emotions through my paintings.

ANTE.: Color and shape are important aspects in your paintings. How has your approach in forming connections between color and shape evolved from your studies to the present moment?

Y.R.: I have always cherished the emotion that comes out of nostalgia and longing for the past. I attempt to capture and preserve these emotions through my paintings. Over time I realized that there is a word for this behaviour in Finnish; that word is ‘kaiho,’ meaning a hopeless longing in which one feels incomplete and yearns for something unattainable or extremely difficult and tedious to attain. I use colour and shape and geometric-like patterns which are not truly geometric: these (patterns) have evolved over time and show some traces of reality.

ANTE.: Your formative education in art occurred when you were learning from painters based in India. How do you see your work forming a bridge between the Indian art canon and the Western art canon?

Y.R.: I did not have a formal art education but I studied under great and successful artists in India. I learnt many techniques from them that helped me translate and formulate my ideas using the medium of painting. I try to use my knowledge, my ideas, my inspirations and life experiences to formulate my thoughts. In the process, unintentionally I end up using different techniques and practices that span both the Indian and the Western art canon.

ANTE.: As a full-time artist, you are dedicated to painting and making art constantly; what are some of your goals in terms of exhibiting your paintings? Do you have a dream gallery you’d like to show with and/or museum or similar venue to show your work?

Y.R.: Being an ambitious artist, my goal is to better my art practice and art technique, evolve as a person through enriched life experience and to then translate that into my art and paintings. I fell in love with Gallery Perrotin the first time I went there to check out a show. The space is beautiful and dreamy. My artworks have a lot of colour but come out of the concept of dreams and it would be a dream to be able to exhibit at this space.

Lost Journey, Y.R. Egon Gouache on paper, 16″ x 20″, 2019

ANTE.: You are a poet and have trained as an engineer, alongside your work as an artist and fashion designer. How do you unite all of these disparate elements in your painting? Has it shaped how you approach art-making?

Y.R.: Yes, I studied Engineering and graduated from the University of Mumbai. I write poems but only to express my ideas through another medium. I studied Fashion Design from Parsons School of Design. I am in process of launching some garments/apparel that are inspired from my paintings from the ‘kaiho’ collection. Hence, I feel that even though they all are separate fields, it all boils down to an expression of ideas as they come together in a product or in works of art. I try to carry the same romantic feeling and emotion in all my works including my fashion illustrations. I specifically use watercolours for these, and in my next series of paintings, I plan to experiment more with watercolour in order to capture the haziness of the lost memories.

ANTE.: How has working in fashion impacted your work as a painter? Do you work with a variety of materials as a result? 

Y.R.: As a fashion designer, I stand by the principles of creative construction and sustainability. I use only natural fabrics and natural dyeing on them. I also use fabric as a medium to paint and specifically natural dyed fabric which is dyed with the colours made from plants such as logwood, madder and flowers such as marigold and berries as well. I also plan to make my own natural pigments from these plants and flowers and natural materials to paint on stretched fabrics such as cotton and silk.

ANTE.: More specifically, does your work as a painter shift in scale due to your background in the fashion industry?

Y.R.: I actually am not that experimental or easily accepting to change. Hence, I try to usually paint in a certain style and on a certain size as well. But again, the scale changes a bit when it is translated on apparel or fabric paintings.

Colorful Houses, Y.R. Egon Gouache on paper, 16″ x 20″, 2019

ANTE.: You’re now based in Brooklyn, NY, and have exhibited with The Greenpoint Gallery and Dacia Gallery. How does living in NYC impact your practice as an artist?

Y.R.: NYC is very dynamic and inspirational, Brooklyn specifically is the epicentre for the modern, contemporary and experimental art that is not commercial. I recently exhibited at the ‘Space 776’ as a part of their Bushwick open studios which was covered by Hyperallergic magazine! I find Brooklyn as a very important factor of my stay in the city and is very inspirational and also motivational to see and meet other artists and their work. I have exhibited at various galleries in Manhattan and Brooklyn and that serves as a booster for myself and my art practice.

America’s Diverse Social Tapestry Shines with “IN/FLUX” on view at Pelham Art Center

by Elizabeth Barenis

 

On view at Pelham Art Center through November 2nd, “IN/FLUX” – co-curated by PAC Director Charlotte Mouquin and Gallery Advisory Board Member Victoria Rolett – features works by compelling contemporary artists wielding their perspectives on immigration as expressed through various mediums. Ranging from photography to painting, installation art to collage, artists on view don’t shy away from aspects of immigration – positive and negative – that have shaped the scope of their respective artistic practices. Artists on view include Corina S. Alvarezdelugo, Selin Balci, Nicky Enright, Jenny Polak, Alejandra Hernandez, David Rios Ferreira, Omid Shekari, Ruben Natal San Miguel, Natalia Nakazawa and Victoria-Idongesit Udondian. The works exude a sense that the wider narrative diversity brings to the table creates a more intriguing contemporary art experience.

The Republic of Unknown Territory by Victoria-Idongesit Udondian for IN/FLUX

Visitors to this unique survey exhibition are greeted at the entrance by sounds of immigrants reflecting on their experiences as captured by Victoria-Idongesit Udondian for her installation, “The Republic of Unknown Territory.” Various articles of clothing are scattered throughout the space, suspended in hidden narratives that allude to both the absence and presence of their owners.

Engaged with the macro, rather than micro, elements of immigration, artist Natalia Nakazawa creates a map of woven threads manifesting the journeys that immigrants have taken to start new lives for themselves in their chosen homes. Denoting trade and travel along immigrant pathways, Nakazawa creates her works by incorporating participation into her process. Similarly engaged with fabrics and mixed materials, this work contrasts with Udondian’s installation in its bird’s-eye view of the effects which immigration exerts on an international scale.

Our Stories of Migration tapestry by Natalia Nakazawa for IN/FLUX

Ferreira’s pop-infused postcolonial drawings peel apart the layers of mythology and truth that comprise each immigrant’s personal history as well as society’s response to immigration. The colorful hues spanning intricate drawings in Ferreira’s works speak to an overarching, allegorical immigrant experience: a wider narrative that embraces aspects of varying sociopolitical relationships and international transportation.

Similarly engaged with maps, travel and transportation, Corina S. Alvarezdelugo’s collage works meld imagery unpacking the emotional weight of what lays near and far, subjects both intimate and remote.

David Rios Ferreira with his Drawings for the opening of IN/FLUX

 

Corina S. Alvarezdelugo’s Pangaea for IN/FLUX

On view at Pelham Art Center from September 20-November 2nd, “IN/FLUX” will host a variety of immigration-themed programming over the course of its time at the Center. These events include:

Afro-Puerto Rican Bomba celebration with BombaYo! – Sunday, Sept. 22nd 2-4pm
Diwali the Hindu festival of lights – Sunday, Oct. 6th 2-4pm
Mexican Day of the Dead – Sunday, Oct. 27th 2-4pm
There will be additional performance art during ArtsFest weekend Oct. 4-6th

Jay Milder’s “Unblotting the Rainbow” Hosts Official Opening Sept 27

Friday, September 27th marks the grand opening celebration of painter Jay Milder’s formidable “Unblotting the Rainbow”, curated by Adam Zucker and on view at the Provincetown Art Association & Museum through Nov 10, 2019.

“Animistic Ark” (2015) Jay Milder

 

“Unblotting the Rainbow” marks a pivotal moment in Milder’s career: the painter, already a household name in Brazil, has an upcoming solo exhibition at the Casa de Mexico in Havana, Cuba in May 2020.

Born in Omaha, Milder exploded onto the scene alongside contemporaries Red Grooms and Claes Oldenberg, and his experimental approach to painting – focused through his intense reflections on spiritual mysticism – informing his changing artistic vision. At times abstract while adopting a scale of figurative elements over the years, the artist relies on elements such as Kabbalah and numerology to inform his compositions. A keen balance of formal qualities imbues his practice with a meditative presence. Works on view in “Unblotting the Rainbow” chart the artist’s continual progress from his roots as an emerging artist in the 1950s through today. As curator Adam Zucker notes, “(the exhibit) focus(es)…on his use of painterly Expressionism as a means to address physical and spiritual themes affecting the human condition. For Milder, it’s a return to exhibiting in Provincetown, a community that had a tremendous impact on his career.” The artist began an ongoing relationship with the Provincetown area in the late 1950s, maintaining links to the area and experiencing formative days and months learning from others in the close knit community. A homecoming of sorts for the artist, Milder continues to push artistic boundaries while maintaining his place as a premiere artist advancing American modern expressionism.

Noah’s Ark #1 (2002) Jay Milder


Along with an opening to the public on Friday, August 27 from 8 pm on, the artist will also be giving a talk on Sunday, August 29 at the Provincetown Art Association and Museum from 1 pm. See the PAAM’s website for more details: https://www.paam.org/exhibitions/jay-milder-unblotting-the-rainbow/

Closing Party: Pat McCarthy’s NikNak’s City Cart @ ENTRANCE

by Mark Eisendrath

 

While remaining on view through August 11, Thursday August 8 marks the closing celebration for artist Pat McCarthy’s NikNak’s City Cart at ENTRANCE gallery, 48 Ludlow St. 

Works on view by Pat McCarthy on ENTRANCE gallery main floor, “Pages 1-9” (Xerox on paper, stainless steel)

From 6 pm on, the artist will be celebrating this body of work – influenced by Gordon Matta-Clark and the Rivington School – at ENTRANCE gallery, created in homage to the recent loss of his dachsund, Nik Nak (Naknikiya, or “hot dog” in Hebrew). This “hot dog” cart project also references the artist’s ongoing work with pigeons, merging the organic and the artificial in mixed-media, multidisciplinary constructions on view at the gallery’s upstairs and downstairs project space. The project itself has incorporated participatory art elements, with a final sculpture culminating from the various drawings contributed by participants outlining the monuments and edifices of New York City’s streets – a city that pigeons know all too well.

NikNak’s City Cart in situ in front of ENTRANCE

“…we’ll demolish the cart on the street and with the materials (the beautiful quilted stainless
steel) I’ll craft a model of the city, based on the community’s designs,” notes McCarthy. August 8th starting at 6 pm, visitors will have the opportunity to witness this new model of the City as transformed from the original presentation of the hot dog cart on the street in front of ENTRANCE. The artist himself will be on hand along with gallery directors to explain and walk guests through works on view as part of the project.

Views of NikNak’s City Cart transforming, ENTRANCE gallery (48 Ludlow)

NikNak’s City Cart evinces a type of experimentation and open source community participation that the Lower East Side has sorely been missing. Don’t skip out on a chance to witness the final sculpture marking the evolution of Pat McCarthy’s NikNak’s City Cart Thursday August 8th, 2019 from 6 pm and catch the full exhibit before its end on August 11th at ENTRANCE, 48 Ludlow Street!