Friday, June 19, 6-8 pmJuly First Friday, July 3, 5-8 pmThe Chester River has long served as Ramsey’s muse and continues to give forth its riches. The new work vibrates with color and movement as she captures and makes visible the energy created when wind, water, and land converge. “I look for some key structure, usually knowing it when I see it, that hits me as something more than an arrangement of shapes. It’s more of an emotional knowing,” Ramsey explained.
While her stunning oil paintings are based on natural phenomena, she often finds herself verging on the territory of the abstract artist. Something beyond landscape is happening on Ramsey’s canvases as she lays down sensuous layers of rich color juxtaposed with bold calligraphic brushstrokes. There is a reverberation in the interstice of mind/soul that transcend the imagery.
In choosing the title, Refuge, Ramsey hopes to convey her particular journey with this new body of work. “In the act of painting,” Ramsey said, “the artist is sometimes able to disappear into the work. The intellect shuts off and the inner secret self steps forward to become one with the painting. If the work is really effective, it can extend this sensation to the viewer and provide a ‘refuge,’ an escape from a chaotic world, to a place of peace, sensual awareness, fantasy and essential connectedness.”
In this new collection of large scale oil on canvas paintings and small watercolor gouache studies, Ramsey continues to explore themes familiar to her collectors and long time admirers. At the same time, she succeeds in challenging herself to deepen both her and our understanding of the secrets the river holds. She captures moments of synthesis – moments that happen when the rest of us have already averted our gaze.
Rounding out the exhibit, and paired with Ramsey’s paintings are Marilee Schumann’s iconic bronze vessels. Schumann and Ramsey are long time friends and river dwellers who share a stretch of shoreline on the Upper Chester River. For over twenty years, both artists have been deeply involved with the Chester River Association and are passionate about the preservation, resurrection and protection of the Chester. The work Schumann will exhibit in Refuge was inspired by a tradition practiced by the watermen of the region. A workboat can remain in a family for a lifetime. When these workhorses of the Bay are beyond salvation, a waterman will drive the derelict vessels into the marshes and abandon them to the elements. Schumann cuts to the quick capturing the emotional pathos of abandonment in the forms she’s created and then proceeds to explore the dual aspects of attachment and loss – the result is both “distressing and enchanting.”