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carol heft “connections”: artist ron shelton, usa

chalk on slate drawings:

Ron Shelton’s art is political in both process and content.  The fact that he uses perishable materials reflects his feelings about the aesthetic experience; “precious”, contrasted with the ordinary entering the world of the sublime.  Using a slate board and various kinds of chalks, he transforms the drawing surface into a field, rife with changeable ideas and emotion.  The resulting images, composed in a language that both depicts and symbolizes, are concurrently cryptic, scrawling, provocative and naive.  These changing surfaces are rich with history.  The placement of words, vertical and diagonal elements, erasing and working over the surface is compositionally determined in some of the work; other times it is a tangled flow of automatic energy, with it’s own internal order.

The artist’s affinity for drawing and composing with handwriting is in some ways, indicative of his dedication to art as a political vehicle rather than a decorative object.  Unruly,  jagged marks take on an emotional grace.  For visual and social commentary purposes, he uses these contradictions, embodying sophistication and candor,  to make the point. The sound of chalk making marks on a blackboard is in itself rhythmic and energizing, the way a painter feels the viscous, sensuality of paint moving from the palette to the brush to the canvas.  The “black of the slate” creates a ground that is like graphite, silvery and smooth.  It’s interaction with chalk’s powdery quality creates a range of unique textures.   A surprisingly versatile medium, the slate has become an ideal material that expands the artist’s voice.

As an artist and curator, Ron is looking for something that is both obvious and hidden.  Drawing inspiration from sources such as Art Brut, Cobra, post modern artists Cy Twombly, Jean-Michel Basquiat, and Tachisme artists Jean Dubufett and Andre Masson among others,  he chronicles aspects of human nature and our response to our uncertain times in a personal language that reaches beyond culture or ethnicity.

Carol Heft is a New York City based artist and educator. She is a graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design and her work has been exhibited internationally. She teaches Drawing, Painting, and Art History at several colleges in New York and Pennsylvania, and is represented by the Blue Mountain Gallery in New York City.

ron shelton, usa
ron shelton, usa
ron shelton, usa
"hell on wheels" first words chalk on slate 54 x 48"
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