In March, Gallery NAGA will present symbolic, sea-inspired paintings by Julia von Metzsch Ramos and intricate porcelain sculptures by Cheryl Ann Thomas.
Julia von Metzsch Ramos: Evaporating Landscapes and Cheryl Ann Thomas: Out of My Hands both run from March 4 to 26. A reception for the artists and public will be held on Friday, March 4 from 6 to 8 pm.
In her second solo exhibition at Gallery NAGA, Ramos offers a body of work that is vigorous and distinctive. With the exception of one painting of an abstracted magnolia, the new paintings are primarily seascapes. Islands, trees, and rocks all come in and out of view, but what is most mysterious is the atmosphere Ramos is able to capture. One can almost feel the humidity hanging in the air in Fog Burning Off. Steaming Ocean depicts a black landmass in the middle of a turbulent ocean where fantastical sea smoke rises from the water.
Ramos uses transparent layers of paint to achieve depth and illusion. This disjunction between the layers of paint application creates a tension particularly well suited to the ever-changing New England weather.
Ramos received her BA in 2007 and Masters in 2010 in Fine Arts from Boston University, and then returned to Boston University as a MFA Painting Fellow at the School of Visual Arts. There she studied with John Walker, whose intensity and confidence guided Ramos and her work away from the gentler seascapes she had been doing towards more abstract and unconventional work.
Represented by six sculptures and having her first solo exhibition at Gallery NAGA, Cheryl Ann Thomas’ work is fluid and sensual.
Thomas uses a coiling technique – a technique that has been used for thousands of years across many cultures to build large storage jars -- whereby she hand rolls clay into long, snake-like forms. Each of Thomas’ coils is layered onto the previous roll allowing her to build large columns of tiny ropes. Each form is tall with thin walls and when she fires them, they collapse. The shapes resemble fabric in the way they fold and crumple in on themselves. These collapsed shapes yield the beauty in her work.
Most recently, Thomas has been taking two or more fired columns, refiring them stacked together, and watching as they encircle each other. Where one column ends and another begins is almost impossible to discern were it not for the color differences between vessels.
Her most recent consideration is color. After initially limiting her colors to black, whites, and grays, she now explores blues, pinks, and rusts. Sometimes a single rope of vibrant, contrasting color will run through a vessel. In its unfired design the rope of color forms a circle. After the vessel has collapsed it becomes a tangle and disappears into the folds.
Cheryl Ann Thomas lives in Ventura, California and attended the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena. She is a 2013 recipient of the Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant. Her work can be found in many public collections including the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston and the American Museum of Ceramic Art in Pomona, California.