Erika Ranee is a painter and received her MFA from the University of California, Berkeley. She is the recipient of a New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA) Fellowship in Painting and has attended the Artist in the Marketplace (AIM) seminar program at the Bronx Museum, as well as the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture. She was a 2009/2010 Artist-in-Residence at the Abrons Arts Center, and was awarded a studio grant from The Marie Walsh Sharpe Art Foundation, 2011/2012. Her work has been shown in several group exhibitions at galleries including SALTWORKS Contemporary Art, the Arlington Arts Center, Slate Gallery; Artspace in New Haven, CT, the Allegra LaViola Gallery, The Last Brucennial, 2014. For the Fall of 2014 she will be part of a group exhibit at the Smithsonian Museum of African Art. She lives and works in New York and teaches at NYU.
Ranee builds abstract paintings that are layered with the detritus of daily life. Each painting is a collection of seemingly mundane occurrences. she hoards snippets from my eavesdropping ventures, walking along the street, riding the subway, the bus; capturing images and moments during my daily commute to work. Various text from notes, letters and other discarded memorabilia are salvaged then embedded in a viscose preserve of paint and varnish. Like pages from a journal, each artwork is an exercise in pushing paint around to articulate a time capsule on canvas. The not-so-random assemblage of seemingly disparate items presents a variety of challenges. From each challenge arises a new approach to using materials and techniques that are in opposition to each other: geometric and biomorphic; glossy and matte; thick and thin, the immediate gesture, and the more deliberate and slow mark-making. These dichotomies unfold in each painting serving as a reflection of the unpredictable, hyper-kinetic urban environment.
Narrative text scrawls in paint and shellac fragment and become disjointed as they morph into other forms. Every layer is considered, even when erased or obscured, to capture a moment from the past at once forgotten or temporarily repressed from memory. Words and figures become interchangeable as they merge into blocks of color that ooze and combust into molten gold and silver masses, punctuated by moments of flat white space. Color designates the mood of a documented language that is often instant and fleeting. The immediacy of a text or a cell phone response, or a post on social media defines our new ephemeral nature of correspondence. To inscribe words or thoughts with a utensil on a surface is no longer the norm. She has an urge to practice this antiquated mode of communication in the midst of its waning relevance. Painting serves as a way for me to explore and reconcile these dualities in a visual freestyle.