Zane Bennett Contemporary Art is pleased to announce Dual Realities, an exhibition of work by Ian Ratowsky. The opening is Friday, April 25, at the gallery, 435 South Guadalupe Street, across from the rail station, from 5:00 - 7:00 pm to coincide with the Railyard Arts District Last Friday Art Walk. The artist will be present.
New Mexico based artist, Ian Ratowsky has been producing art for over forty years. His artistic and personal journey has been one of constant discovery. Ratowsky's first introduction to art was through his mother, who was an artist. From there he has led a "nomad's life," creating work not just in New Mexico, but globally in such places as India, Costa Rica, California and New York.
Ratowsky's latest exhibition, Dual Realities, features large scale portraits on paper. The works are painted on a completely unique surface, Tequila Paper©, created by the artist himself with agave fiber from Jalisco, Mexico. The work is based on photographs taken of people he has met in public settings or images from magazines. In these images, there exists some aspect in the subject's face with which Ratowsky connects. Once that connection is made, the photograph serves as a jumping off point for what becomes a visceral and whole mind/body experience for the artist as he works.
Ratowsky begins his staggeringly large portraits simply by making random marks - lines and dots - on paper with charcoal. This moves the artist into a meditative state in which forms begin to appear. The act of making the work at this size is one that involves the whole body - in this way, the artist and the work become one. In each piece, the viewer can clearly see the physical energy exerted to create.
Ratowsky uses large brushes and various media: conté, charcoal, sumi ink, acrylic, pastel and Flashe. Each stroke of the brush or line reflects the expansive motion of the artist's hand.
Ian Ratowsky's portraits often show many different versions of a feature, as he is drawn to "flaws" - or what some might consider mistakes that he makes in the piece. The artist is attracted to these "mistakes" and with each new line working to correct the error, the image creates more motion - more angles at the same time, more moments occurring simultaneously. Thus, these flaws or mistakes transform and work to enhance the piece. Of this effect, Ratowsky states, "Faces are in one position, yet in many positions. Dual realities. There is a mood, a stare, a moment that seems frozen, but stays alive." When viewing Ratowsky's work that "alive" feeling is one that is both infectious and irresistible.
There is no formula, no set palette - everything Ratowsky does comes from him and his connection to the world, his work and his subject. This freedom of emotion and motion allows the viewer to travel through the work, stopping at a frenzied tangle of lines or a large expanse of lush color. The viewer's journey is not just visual, but emotional. The scale of the work, the quality of the line, the color and motion, all evoke an irrepressible response.
It is clear from Ian Ratowsky's work that his travels thought the world have had an impact on how he views people. The work illustrates the range of personality, emotional states and beauty found in people that is the common thread that connects the entire human race. Ratowsky has created an map of human emotion. As Ian Ratowsky's personal, artistic and physical journeys continue, he has found a way, through his work, to allow the viewer to travel alongside him. This is a precious gift, joyously and uniquely bestowed upon the viewer through the power of his own creativity.