Impeding Signage #3

Jason Ramey:

The Personal Ecology of

Furnishings and Walls

By Michelle Grabner

“It is never we who affirm or deny something of a thing; it is
the thing itself that affirms or denies something of itself in us.”

-Baruch Spinoza

Sculptor Jason Ramey admirably stakes out and navigates a psychological landscape taut with existential metaphors and personal narratives. At the same time, he unflinchingly confronts the problematic historical debates between the visual arts and crafts, furniture and props, display and architecture by employing the tropes of these dichotomies in his work. When one experiences Ramey’s work, his acknowledgement of the ill-defined space between art, craft, and design practice is not immediately apparent. That is his intention. What’s primary is his uncanny ability to stretch vernacular signifiers, through formal and material intervention, into intimate emotional stages. His heavy use of found objects suggests that his work is contoured by storytelling, memories and industrious objectives. His human-scaled spaces delineate small domestic theaters and pop-up tragicomedy plays. Yet Ramey deftly imbues his work with a spectrum of critical thinking, embracing modernist functionalism and narrative drive while simultaneously disrupting distinctions between high and low, fragmentation and autonomy, originality and authorship.

Noted historian and theorist Glenn Adamson has built a career out of mapping craft’s power structures, locating its authority in the economic and political manifestations of the language. Identifying craft’s cultural influence as well as articulating its limitations is important work. It is work that Ramey intellectually commits himself. Yet the political underpinnings of craft are peripheral to his practice. His core theme is place- a familiar and domesticated place where a viewer can identify the conditions that shape humanity. For Ramey, it is not only the production of craft that humanizes but also the literal representation of space and body.

Drawing on personal narrative Ramey says in his artist statement that” growing up, I was often curious about who might have constructed the walls in my family home, and what type of people they were.” Were they like me? Are they still alive? “These walls weren’t just inane parts of my childhood home, they were my childhood.” Memory is bound up in the space that enfolds our material world- the people, the furniture; the crown molding are props and markers. Ramey’s statement contemplating the original builder of his childhood home elegantly fuses Ramey as artist, as builder, and as questioner. “I wondered this because these walls were keeping me safe, and I had no idea who put them there.” Who were [those people] and why did they build these walls for us?” Such musings reflect a profound emotional attachment to domesticated space, and that is what Ramey infuses in the spaces with his wall-and-furniture constructions.

Ramey’s spaces without enclosure are still intimate and private. His open-form constructions integrate only one or two domestic elements, a sparseness that refutes public exchange. The walls are confident in their delicate role protecting private space; they embrace and even engulf the surrogate furnishings that also conspire to create a reflective and psychologically charged domestic domain.

Upcoming Exhibitions
Solo Exhibition Watkins Gallery - Winona State University
Jan 11- Feb 16- 2016

I'm pleased to announce that I am one of 5 recipients of The Jerome Foundation Emerging Artist Grant for 2014/15. In addition to a 12,000 award, I will be exhibiting with the other 4 recipients in an exhibition to be held at The Minneapolis College of Art and Design. More info here

Columbus, Ohio
Travelers Exhibition with Actual Size Artworks

Brief Description:
We will approach the yet to be determined location(hopefully we'll know soon) as travelers, more commonly known as storm chasers who often leave their homes in the South to make a quick dollar after a catastrophic event, often leaving the homes in a state of disarray. We will modify the interior and exterior of the house in reference to this topic.
The installation/show will be available for public viewing.

I was recently invited to participate in Emma International Collaboration in July 2014. I will be 1 of 100 artists participating in this event. Emma is held in The Ness Creek arts site near Big River Saskatchewan. For more info on Emma check out their site

Little Forward Gallery, Madison WI 2014

Jason Ramey New Work , Olive Deluce Gallery Maryville MO,

Northwest Missouri State Univeristy, show opens on Jan 27th and is up for one month, solo exhibition - Visiting artist NMSU January 2014

Aesthetic Afterlife, Marquette University Haggerty Museum of Art, Jan 2014 (show extended to August 2014)
Bellevue Arts Museum, Bellevue Washington June 2013-Traveling Group Show

Basille Gallery, Indianapolis Indiana, June 2013

Leigh Yawkey Woodson Museum of Art, Wausau Wisconsin, April 2013 Solo exhibition in conjunction with Torqued, Bent, and Twisted traveling exhibition

For Immediate Release: June 21, 2012
Contact: Jason Ramey

(Hamilton, NJ) Jason Ramey of Madison Wisconsin has been awarded the prestigious International Sculpture Center's Outstanding Student Achievement in Contemporary Sculpture Award for 2012. Jason Ramey is a student at The University of Wisconsin
The International Sculpture Center (ISC) established the annual "Outstanding Student Achievement in Contemporary Sculpture Award" program in 1994 to recognize young sculptors and to encourage their continued commitment to the field. It was also designed to draw attention to the sculpture programs of the participating universities, colleges and art schools. The award program's growing publicity resulted in a record number of participating institutions; including 174 universities, colleges and art school sculpture programs from six countries for a nominated total of 434 students.
A distinguished panel made up of Donna Dennis, Winifred Lutz & Joseph Becherer selected 12 recipients and 22 honorable mentions through a competitive viewing process of the works submitted. The selection of the recipients from a large pool of applicants, including international students, is a great accomplishment and testament to the artistic promise of the student’s work.
The 12 award recipients will participate in the Grounds For Sculpture's Fall/Winter Exhibition, which will be on view from October 20, 2012-April 7, 2013 in Hamilton, New Jersey, adjacent to the ISC headquarters. The artist's work will be featured in the October 2012 issue of the International Sculpture Center's award winning publication, Sculpture magazine as well as on the ISC’s award-winning website at
The International Sculpture Center (ISC) is a member-supported, nonprofit organization founded in 1960 to champion the creation and understanding of sculpture and its unique, vital contribution to society. Members include sculptors, collectors, patrons, architects, developers, journalists, curators, historians, critics, educators, foundries, galleries, and museums-anyone with an interest in and commitment to the field of sculpture. Please visit for further details.
International Sculpture Center, Publisher of Sculpture magazine, 19 Fairgrounds Rd., Suite B Hamilton, NJ 08619-3450
TEL 609.689.1051 FAX 609.689.1061

I was recently awarded The First Chazen Prize to an Outstanding MFA Student from The Chazen Museum of Art in Madison Wisconsin.

The Chazen Prize is offered by the museum in collaboration with the Art Department; the winner is selected by an outside curator. This year's curator is Michelle Grabner, professor and chair of the Department of Painting and Drawing at the School of the Art institute of Chicago. She is a Wisconsin native and previously taught at the UW for 6 years.

Recent Interview with Karen Barret Wilt