The Shape of Things

The Shape of Things
Shilo Ratner 2020 DaSilva Gallery Exhibition

Written and photographed by Kathy Leonard Czepiel.

Special thank you goes out to the wrier Kathy Leonard Czepiel for this wonderful article in the Daily Nutmeg. Original article can be found http://dailynutmeg.com/2020/01/30/paintings-shilo-ratner-dasilva-gallery-shape-things/

I n painting after painting in Shilo Ratner’s soon-ending solo exhibition at DaSilva Gallery, big blocks of color meet contrasting angles and lines and bands. Together, they suggest a grand experiment in which the artist seems to be working out a pattern, using shapes and colors to reach a deeper sense of order.

There’s repetition in the obtuse angles, knife-edged lines and flat fields. But each time, the treatment is a little bit different, like multiple attempts at a tangram puzzle in which you try first one solution, then another. Does the large block belong at the top of the canvas, compressing the thinner lines below? Does it belong at the bottom, with an accumulation of thinner lines above? Or should it, perhaps, float in the center or even higher?

In Looking Up at the Open Sky, a “horizon” line tips ever so slightly, to vertiginous effect. Other lines compensate by tipping in the opposite direction, but it’s hard to find the level. With a large, pale blue block of color dominating the top of the canvas, the experience of looking up at the sky and losing touch with the ground is uncannily recreated.

Shifting Waters shifts the experiment with a dominating dark wall that slices diagonally through the canvas in shades of brown and green striped with red. Like the horizon in Open Sky, this partition is unsettling; each of its bands of color locates the wall’s corner in a different place. A segmented gray shape follows it like a sidewalk. In the background, cheerful blues peek through.

Only two of the show’s 16 paintings break the pattern to include a portion of a circle, partially obscured by horizontal lines, which calls to mind a rising or setting sun. Seeing these pieces last might make the circles an element of surprise, but one is displayed in the front window and the other just inside the door. Their placement seems to instruct us to think of the more squared geometric images that follow as doing the same: overlapping and obscuring one another, just as the circle is obscured by the lines that hide its completion.

Sure enough, on closer examination, Ratner’s paintings are more layered and subtle than they first appear. Return for a second look and then a third; even more layers emerge. It’s as if the closer you step to these works, the farther in they draw you. For example, once you notice them, subtle banded and triangular ghosts behind an ivory block of color in Temple of the Moon give the unexpected effect of sunlight casting a quiet shadow.

Ratner sees her artwork as a form of meditation. Her painting process begins each day with Japa meditation, which uses sound repetition in the form of mantras that put her in a positive frame of mind to approach the canvas intuitively. “I just start with a shape,” she says. She draws on her formal art education—a knowledge of color and brush technique, for example—but mostly, she says, the paintings “sort of just evolve on their own. They have their own voice, and I try to just bring it out on the canvas.”

The colors she chooses—tiger orange, sapphire blue, sunny yellow—excite the eye, and yet the way her shapes hug tight and her lines stretch straight conveys a sense of stability. Even when she’s tipping us off balance, the tilt feels more playful than precarious.

The net positive effect is intentional, Ratner says. She names some of the things that are tilting our global society today—climate change, anti-Semitism, Islamophobia. “I try to bring beauty into the world,” she says. “[I’m] not saying that I’m not aware of everything that’s happening, but I’m trying to put something out there that doesn’t have that angst, so I when I’m creating the work, I want to create these calm visions, kind of this optimistic view of the world I see in the chaotic times we’re living in.”

Our Bodies Ourselves

March 7 – April 10, 2019

Public Reception: Sunday, March 10, 1 – 3pm

I’m looking forward to Sundays reception. What makes this event really special is that there will be three generations of my family exhibiting.

Ely Center Press Release – Each year during Women’s History Month, ECOCA showcases In Grace We Trust, an exhibition that commemorates the philanthropic work of Grace Taylor Ely who transformed her home at 51 Trumbull Street into a space for local artists to gather and show their work. Since her passing, the Ely Estate and Friends of John Slade Ely House of Contemporary Art have carried on this tradition, maintaining the building as a place that supports New Haven’s artist communities. In Grace We Trust addresses ideas of tradition and change — a nod to the past as we confront current societal challenges and rise together to create future narratives.

This year, we take inspiration from Our Bodies Ourselves, the pivotal book first published in 1970 in Boston, on the cusp of the 2nd wave of feminism. The book has become a trusted source of support for generations of women who continue to use what they learn in its pages to claim control over their bodies. The 2011 edition, the last print edition, focuses on women’s reproductive health and sexuality. It includes dozens of personal stories and essential, up-to-date information about gender identity, sexual orientation, birth control, abortion, pregnancy and birth, perimenopause, menopause, health issues such as breast and ovarian cancers, and sexuality and sexual health as we age.

Nearly half a century after the first printing of Our Bodies Ourselves, we are still struggling with a system that allows for “inhumane legal restrictions, the imperfections of available contraceptives, the poor sex education, the highly priced and poorly administered health care that keep too many [people] from having this crucial control over their bodies.” (Preface to the 1973 Edition of “Our Bodies Ourselves”).

Inspired by Our Bodies Ourselves, Trans Bodies, Trans Selves, was published in 2014 as a resource guide for transgender, gender expansive, and non-binary populations, covering health, legal issues, cultural and social questions, history, theory, and more. It is a place for transgender, gender expansive, non-binary, and gender questioning people, their partners and families, and others to look for up-to-date information on life under the trans umbrella. Artists of all genders are invited to share their work and experiences in this exhibition.

Our communities are strengthened through art as it fuels collaborative exchange and encourages us to understand and take responsibility for our mental, spiritual, and physical selves. Art continues to be a valuable tool for individuals to express their personal experiences and a social activator that brings communities together to address common concerns. Inspired by the work writers and editors of Our Bodies Ourselves have done over the years, this exhibition aims to create a safe, open forum in which to share concerns, hopes, and ideas.

Putnam and Mason

Artist Shilo Ratner, Open Spaces, 20 x 20in
Open Spaces, 20 x 20in

I will have work on display at Putnam and Mason this May. This high-end furniture store is a designers dream. This event will be in conjunction with the Greenwich Art Council’s “Art to the Avenue” event.

Putnam and Mason 34 E. Putnam Avenue Greenwich, CT 06830

EGGIWEGS DAB ART GALLERY

EGGIWEGS DAB ART GALLERY

 

Imagine, 20 x 20", Acrylic on Canvas
Imagine, 20 x 20in, Acrylic

 

OPENING RECEPTION | DECEMBER 8 | 6-8P

H GALLERY | MIDTOWN VENTURA

Dab Art is pleased to present EGGIWEGS at H Gallery in Midtown Ventura. Aberrantly titled as an homage to the protagonist in the iconic film Clockwork Orange; EGGIWEGS is an international exhibition featuring 21 contemporary artists from around the U.S., Canada and South Korea. This vivid and striking exhibit is primarily composed of abstract works with an emphasis on color fields.

Stylistically, there was a break in the late 1950’s from post war Abstract Expressionism. Artists were experimenting with large fields of flat solid colors across the canvas. By creating a flat picture plane with a dense spread, these pioneers painted works free of objective context, favoring concept over technique.

One of these pioneers, Jules Olitski (1922-07) famously rejected any gestural brushwork, preferring to use an industrial spray-gun to apply paint to his canvases. Interested only in conveying the power of pure color, Olitski abandoned formal narratives with the goal of producing work devoid of all emotional and spiritual elements. While the original idea may have been to eliminate an obvious subject matter, the works of Mark Rothko (1903-70) in contrast, were highly representational of his personal life. His gargantuan abstracts were an eerie evolution of color, moving from brilliant, bright hues during early success, into a drastically dark palette leading up to his suicide.

The artists remembered for their color field abstracts attempted to severe an emotional connection to their work, fortuitously starting a entirely new genre of art. Similar to the artists of the late 1950’s, EGGIWEGS examines the psychological use color by manifesting the principles or attributes of the original movement in an exhibition of 40 impressive and undeniably immersive works. Artworks available on Artsy.

Ricardo Beron
Glenn Carter
Glen Moriwaki
Mark Bennion
Tracy Childs
Tom Bolles
Karen Anable-Nichols
Shilo Ratner
Sacha 9
Sung Eun Park
Ethan Snow

Carl Shubs
Denby Dale
Reina Castellanos
Elizabeth Anne Paquette
Young-Jin Han
Jessamyn Box
Greg Martin
Terri Lloyd
Blandine Saint-Oyant
Lisa Ross

 

Text provide by Dab Art.

Upcoming Exhibitions

Upcoming Exhibitions

I can’t believe I haven’t posted in so long. I’m more of a Instagram micro blogger. I’m working everyday in my studio but apparently not spending that much time on my website.  Well, I have two upcoming exhibits on the horizon one in the East and one in the West .

“WINTER SHOWING”
December 2- January 6
Ely Center of Contemporary Art
51 Trumbull Street New Haven, CT
Reception: December 2, 1-3pm

“EGGIWEGS”
DEC 8 – FEB 16
DAB ART
1793 East Main Street Ventura, CA