Life’s been proceeding at a fast pace for Jason Ramey (B.F.A. ‘08 in Furniture Design) since he left Herron. He moved to the University of Wisconsin, Madison to complete a master’s degree and currently teaches furniture design and 3-D foundations as a visiting full time faculty member at the Minnesota College of Art and Design (MCAD).
In 2014, Ramey discovered that he is among a five-person cadre of Minnesotans named to a 2014-2015 Jerome Foundation Fellowship for Emerging Artists. The honor comes with a $12,000 award for each recipient. (To round out the year, his daughter Eva Rae, all eight pounds and 20 inches of her, chose to make her arrival on December 5. He may be a little sleep deprived of late.)
According to MCAD’s website, the Jerome Fellows “…were selected out of a pool of 252 applicants by a panel of arts professionals that included Candida Alvarez, artist and professor in the painting and drawing department at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago; Shannon Fitzgerald, curator, writer and executive director of Rochester Art Center; and David Norr, independent curator and writer currently based in New York City.
Art Critic Michelle Grabner has described Ramey as admirably staking out “…. a psychological landscape taut with existential metaphors and personal narratives. At the same time, he unflinchingly confronts the problematic historical debates between the visual arts and crafts, furniture and props, display and architecture by employing the tropes of these dichotomies in his work”—the sorts of debates that occasionally can be found in the furniture design studios at Herron.
Ramey’s artist’s statement attributes his work to his youthful curiosity “about who might have constructed the walls in my family home, and what type of people they were. … These walls weren’t just inane parts of my childhood home, they were my childhood,” he said. His current work still explores these and other domestic themes as it binds up memory “in the space that enfolds our material world.”
Ramey characterizes Herron as “a huge part of my development as an artist. “I had very little experience before coming to Herron,” he said, “I was lucky to work with Cory Robinson, Phil Tennant and David Lee on the basics of design and fabrication. I continue to be amazed at the work I see coming from Herron students.”
In addition to a Jerome Fellows group show at MCAD in the fall, Ramey also has solo exhibitions in Cleveland and the Weber Gallery at Winona State University in the works for late 2015.