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Trinidadian Visual Artist - Richard Rampersad

A n extraordinary and talented persona within the art arena takes the form of Mr. Richard Rampersad. Born in the sub-urban area of Valsayn, on the 2nd August 1990, Mr. Rampersad possesses a profound wealth of artistic competencies in all spheres. Mr. Ramper-sad is currently a full time practicing artist. He is the recipient of a first class honours degree in Visual Art from the University of the West Indies (U.W.I). In addition, he possesses certified knowledge in Graphic Design at the School of Business and Computer Sci-ence (S.B.C.S) as well as Mehndi (U.W.I). Mr. Rampersad`s thorough exposure to workshops in Puppetry, Painting, Ceramics, Textile Design, Wire bending, Costume making and Stilt walking bombarded him with a melange of artistic abilities that cannot be disputed. Richard Rampersad is indeed a promising, pervasive and all- encompassing artist, whose works merit close watching.

Richard Rampersad

The relationship between an image and the reality it purports to represent is, according to many contemporary critics, inherently political. This stems in part from the work of post structuralist theorists, who have identified a connection between images and power. In my exhibition, each piece seems to indicate something specific and contributes meaningfully to my visual language. The highly sophisticated spatial organization, negative space treat-ment and non orthodox idiom in the figure rendering supersede naturalistic accuracy. My artistic expression goes beyond pictorial representation and becomes the affirmation of one whose ontological foundation expresses the will to use the media as a vehicle to convey an idea or narrative. I seek to make advancement in the visual understanding of the figures and in how they may be rendered.

This body of work reflects my personal journey in exploring the idea of cleansing. I draw, paint, create and strive to find fulfillment in my ability to translate thoughts and visions on the canvas without words, instead, with the ripeness of colour and texture. The body of work seeks to interrogate the notion of "wash-in to wash-out" and examines the narrative of cleansing. The context of cleansing is not used in its literal sense but in the context of applying symbolic genres and dynamic structures with in which the human experience, meaning and value are stimulated and emerged.

Figurative drawing/painting has been a practice since time immemorial. The simple figures inscribed on the walls of prehistoric caves are eloquent testimony that this is an activity that is virtually as old as humankind itself. There is an incredibly amount of diversity in this genre, but plenty of challenges when it comes to painting figures with power and depth. My fascination with the human figure propelled and accounted for the choice of subject matter. More so, the female form. This body of work seeks to utilize the female fig-ure as the main "motif" to illustrate women and the plethora of issues and challenges they are bombarded with, particularly violence.

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In the conceptualization and execution of this work I thought about the use of media and technique as well as how it can symbolically and meaningfully relate to the idea. Conse-quently, the gesticulations and manner in which paint application methods were manipulated lends itself to the nature of my narrative. The paintings are large, on a scale considerably greater than life size. When one stands in front of them it is possible to feel surrounded and enveloped by the colour and monumental scale.

These large scaled-figures are by themselves on each canvas with their heads turned graceful-ly sideways, or blocked from the observer. This bodily posture is emblematic of the afore-mentioned social-ill women are subjected to. As well as representative of how these women are ostracized, alienated and isolated by society. Splashing, bleeding and dripping of paints onto the canvas are a symbolic approach to illustrate and simulate cleansing, i.e. the behav-iour of water while bathing. These techniques were predominately utilized on the background or negative space which carries the same weight as the positive space. The slender dripping effect of paint on the background surmounted by the portrait orientation of the canvases ech-oes the vertical starts of the figures. The results are immense bright, joyful and abstract pat-terns that created a context for the figures. There is indeed a strong awareness of the contrast of tone and always a conspicuous depiction of light, whether subdued or intense. There is the brilliance of colours and tones, shimmering in the vivid finger strokes of the impressionist technique. These graphic statements are capable of speaking very clearly to us about our cur-rent concerns and are a joy to the observer.

Colour was used for emotional expression and the direst effect it has on the spectator. Gener-ally speaking, colour directly influences the soul. Colour is the keyboard, the eyes are the hammers, and the soul is the piano with many keys. The artist is the hand that plays touching one key or another purposively to cause vibrations in the soul. The colours used on each pan-el have been orchestrated in harmony as if they were instruments performing in a concert.

The paint application method of finger painting was executed to paint the actual figures. This was the chosen technique as it attempts to create a link and dialogue between the finger marks and the physical effects of domestic violence. Predominantly an analogous colour scheme was utilized for the mathematical colour harmony of the compositions, for the monu-mental stillness of the figures and for the limpid clarity of the light that bathes them. Not-withstanding, in some aspects of the composition, there is a delicacy and unity of colour in the handling of paint, and a sense of great simplicity, warmth and directness. The remarkable use of colour adds greatly to the suggestive and symbolic air surrounding the works and as-sists immensely in the beauty, economy and emotional fluency resonated in each piece. In the background of the painting, colour has a more translucent quality and in the foreground it is more opaque.

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