Study for a studio by the Sea
April 13th – June 2nd, 2018
Reception: Thursday 12th April, 2018, 6 – 8pm
Green On Red Gallery is pleased to present Study for a studio by the Sea, the second solo exhibition of new works by Irish artist Ramon Kassam in the Spencer Dock gallery. In this exhibition of new paintings the artist continues to make works that reflect on the physical, social and art historical conditions of their own creation with inventiveness and humour. The fiction of the artist grappling with his subject, even his career, in his studio is fleshed out in these ambitious paintings and diptychs. The canvases are physically and visually layered, at times confusing real space with depicted space in large colourful expanses.
Study for a Studio by the Sea takes its name from one of the central works in the show. The large-scale painting depicts an artist’s desire to actively engage with, fantasise about and shape their environment through studio activity and painting. This work and the other paintings on show are an extension of Kassam’s ongoing project to develop a world in which to cite an artist. As a result, reoccurring themes and motifs related to landscape are present throughout this series of paintings.
The universe he is creating on the 2D pictorial surface of his canvases are spaces the artist can enter into/onto. This imaginary escape route out of his own studio reality allows Kassam to intuitively indulge his appetite to invent the places, narratives and processes from which his paintings draw.
Moving between first person and third person points of view and from one painting to the next, scenes and activities simulated in works for this exhibition include: painting a not-too-distant Nearest Town ( 2018 ); a painting of a distant and desirable destination in Tropical Strokes ( 2018 ); and, you could say, a desperate fantasy of the artist to relocate to the coast played out in Study for a Studio by the Sea ( 2018 ).
The aesthetic of these paintings and Kassam’s practice in general is strongly influenced by his enthusiasm for modernist painting languages. The abbreviated content in his compositions can appear flattened or stretched, and emerge from combining hard-edge blocks of form, colour and imagery. In some works canvases are combined and incorporate collage. At times minimal and at times gestural, his paintings can blur in and out of legible imagery and pure abstraction.
In a gesture that further complicates and extends the dialogue in Study for a studio by the Sea, the exhibition generously includes two additional paintings to Kassam’s own, one each by painters Fiona Burke and Seán Guinan, studio peers and friends of the artist. Both works employ comparable visual languages to Kassam's and make reference to landscape. Presenting them together in his show, Kassam re-casts the paintings as those of his bitter rivals in the painting landscape of his expanding, invented universe.
As always, the processes and concepts on show are intended to provide multiple readings of the work, but ultimately aim to connect to painting’s visual tradition, and the physical and psychological landscape of the real world.
Special events organised during the run of this exhibition will be announced.
Ramon Kassam is an artist from Limerick City, Ireland. Painting forms the basis of his practice. Kassam’s recent work re-connects with the concept of the artist as creative subject, combining the thematic of the artist's workspace ( canvas, studio, gallery and urban environment ) with formal and conceptual references to the autonomous reality of modernist abstraction.
Ramon is a graduate of the Limerick School of Art and Design and has been exhibiting regularly since 2013. Exhibitions include: The Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum in Michigan (USA), The Green On Red Gallery - Dublin (Solo), The Lewis Glucksman Gallery - Cork, Limerick City Gallery of Art (2015 Solo), and EVA International Ireland's Biennale, Limerick (2014).
He has received a number of awards and residencies. These include The 16 x 16: Next Generation Bursary Award, a special initiative of the Arts Council and the Ireland 2016 Centenary Programme, in recognition of the role of artists in the events of 1916. Residencies include The Embassy of Ireland in Addis Ababa - Project Residency, The RHA Tony O’ Malley Residency Award and Irish Museum of Modern Art. In addition to his practice Kassam founded and was a Director of both Wickham Street Studios, an artist studio complex and Occupy Space, a visual arts exhibition space in Limerick City from 2009-2011.