Copyright © Ramon Riley. All rights reserved.
My works of imagery and collage with creative expression aspire to document the human spirit. Love, Joy and Hope are common denominators that can transcend differences. True interconnectedness is a war strategy against the “unrelenting machine” of our culture that hypnotizes us to accept bigger-faster-more as progress. Contemporary technology provides interesting ways to record and assemble experiences, but living and loving must comes first. Always. The machine versus our humanity.
My process begins with pigment poured on paper. Compositional considerations based on my photos and my emotional responsiveness are integrated with the language of painting and drawing. Braiding figure and landscape into the meandering of the abstract forms created by the process becomes a complex puzzle. I seek to construct an answer to the question: “How can I fuse form, shape, space in a timeless moment”?
Laser cut collage and assemblage adds layers of complexity. With the use of a computer, the linear structure of the image can be reproduced and/or resized. This is counter-balanced by the analog process of drawing and painting. In my decision-making, I am connecting the creative voices of Romare Bearden, Jacob Lawrence, my many teachers, as well as my students, to my own. The notion of intent and the energy within an image, present a challenge that keeps me engaged. This dialogue calls for an answer to yet another question: “How do I paint Love, Joy and Hope”?
Sandro Botticelli’s master compositions of mythology, grounded in aesthetic beauty and based on the elements and principles of art, profoundly inform my work. Venus, the goddess of Love, and her three Graces, "Charm", "Beauty", and "Creativity", entice me to a life of service as an artist, just as Mercury protects Venus’ garden in La Primavera. Flora's struggles to escape the ravishing while the gaze of Venus challenges the viewer may as well be a contemporary story. Venus and I ask the question: "Do you respect and honor the garden?"
A native of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, I am able to retrace the development of my sensibility as an artist to home. I use imagery and memory to create a dialogue with the audience. For me as the artist, it feels like I am tracing a path back to the slaves and immigrants in search of a better life. Their sacrifices, which are our inheritance, are engrained in me. My work reflects my great appreciation and awareness for how my journey empowers me. This ordination continues to lead me to fulfill my purpose of expanding our culture.