(Image: Michelle Ramin, Three Aliases, 2011, colored pencil on paper, 22" x 30"; © Michelle Ramin)
Michelle Ramin (b. 1982, Williamsport, PA)
In my work, I feel compelled to expose the implications of masking - the kind seen in grainy surveillance tapes of bank robberies, in YouTube postings by Wall Street Occupiers, and on the face of a loved one concealing bad news. My graduate school experience culminates in one body of work, consisting of two parts, that addresses this concept. The first is a series of drawings that explores contemporary hipster culture and the identity politics associated with it. The second represents a critique on the institution and what it means to pose the question, “What’s next?”. Both iterations share similar aesthetics, discuss the figure, its relationship to the surrounding environment, and also incorporate the iconic balaclava (ski mask).
I employ the medium of colored pencil on paper, utilizing what is normally considered a craft or low-end art material to conceptually invoke the innocence of youth. The pencil is layered obsessively as fetish in order to elevate the status of the material and, in effect, the concept. The highly-rendered subjects, central composition, and nonexistent backgrounds focus the viewer’s attention onto the intention of the work.
(Image: Michelle Ramin, Joel and Jewel, 2011, colored pencil on paper, 22" x 30" ; © Michelle Ramin)
Education: M.F.A. Painting, San Francisco Art Institute, 2012. B.A. Fine Art, Pennsylvania State University, 2005.
Michelle Ramin has recently exhibited her work nationally and internationally, most recently at at Root Division and Southern Exposure in San Francisco, and the Froelick Gallery in Portland. She has had solo shows at ANKA Gallery, FalseFront, and Bellamy Gallery in Portland, Oregon; and at the Patterson Gallery in University Park, Pennsylvania. In 2011, Ramin received the Jack and Gertrude Murphy Fellowship, and was honored with the Outstanding Graduate Student Award for Painting from SFAI in 2012.
(text provided by the artist)