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.
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 Rameys work, his acknowledgement of the ill-defined space between art, craft, and design practice is not immediately apparent. That is his intention. Whats 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 crafts power structures, locating its authority in the economic and political manifestations of the language. Identifying crafts 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 werent 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. Rameys 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.
Rameys 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.
For Immediate Release: June 21, 2012
Contact: Jason Ramey
JASON RAMEY RECEIVES INTERNATIONAL SCULPTURE CENTER'S 2012 OUTSTANDING STUDENT ACHIEVEMENT IN CONTEMPORARY SCULPTURE AWARD
(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 students 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 ISCs award-winning website at www.sculpture.org.
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 www.sculpture.org 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 www.sculpture.org
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.
Bellevue Arts Museum, Bellevue Washington June 2013
Basille Gallery, Indianapolis Indiana, June 2013
Leigh Yawkey Woodson Museum of Art, Wausau Wisconsin, April 2013
44 Presidents by 44 Artists Overture Center, Madison Wisconsin
Decoy Saskatoon Canada Affinity Gallery Saskatoon Sk
Recent Interview with Karen Barret Wilt