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Art of ambivalence

Sunday, July 13, 2014
LEFT: Dance-in to Dance-out RIGHT: Visual artist Richard Rampersad BOTTOM LEFT: Strategic Disengagement BOTTOM RIGHT: No Air

In his first solo show since graduating from UWI in 2013 with a bachelor’s degree in visual arts, Richard Rampersad explores women’s identities and experiences. “In this body of work, my primary concern is violence against women,” said Rampersad. His investigation takes the form of acrylic paint on canvas, mixed media works and several ceramic pieces, which feature the female figure as the focal point.


In the painting Strategic Disengagement, Rampersad questions whether letting go is the same as giving up. In the collage piece Dance-in to Dance-out, the female in the image constrains her vision so that she zones out of a painful circumstance. Dance or the movement of her body becomes a means of emotional and physical escape. While Rampersad shares his renderings of women and his considerations of their social and psychological worlds, he remains aware that viewers can bring their own interpretations to his art. It is a viewing experience he welcomes. A key idea in this exhibition, therefore, is ambivalence. 


“I don’t want people to view this body of work and immediately say: ‘Oh this is what he meant.’ No, I want people to get a double meaning, and to question it, like ‘Maybe it means this’ or ‘Maybe it could mean that.’ Through my work, I seek to invite the viewer to move into a space of questioning,” Rampersad explained. By encouraging audiences to interrogate the many possible layers of meaning in his work, he exposes the multidimensionality and complexities of being a woman in today’s societies. Richard Rampersad’s Subjectivity, Ambivalence and the Contemporary Imagination opens on July 19, from 6 pm at the Art Society, corner of Jamaica Boulevard and St Vincent Avenue, Federation Park. The exhibition runs through July 24. Gallery hours: 10 am–5 pm daily.


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