Carol Rama "Good Manners"


poster for Carol Rama "Good Manners"

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Maccarone Gallery announces an exhibition of seminal works by CAROL RAMA.

The self-taught artist's current presentation encompasses practices ranging from figurative drawings confronting sexual identity to intense abstractions and collage. With works spanning the years 1943 - 2005, much of the iconography found in Rama's first compositions lingers in her most recent. Sharing numerous qualities with the Surrealists or those of Arte Povera, Rama always remains far too outside the periphery to be wholly absorbed into any one subscribed ideology. The result is a life's work as veritable innovator, never succumbing to one style, yet always depicting a concrete narrative.

In Italy (where Rama has resided most of her life), her early career began controversially, wrought with depictions of salacious scenes charged with erotic symbolism, as posed in Dorina (1943). Assuming this radical taboo-breaking position within the rigid sociopolitical environment that enveloped 1940's Italy, Rama soon strayed from this iconography into a more abstract realm, sparking a dialogue with Movimento per l'Arte Concreta (MAC) concurrently ensuing in Milan.

The artist's conversion to this monochromatic abstraction amends in the 1950's. Moving away from margins of MAC, these works known as bricolage reinstate discerning self-narrative via body-specific materials; animal claws, strips of torn tires, glass doll eyes, fur or stilettos all are tossed into the tactile mix. In the artist's hands, these industrial world relics remain devoid of any potential nostalgic weakness. As viewers we confront an everlasting restitution of the object, recognizing defective symbols of man's history with an assigned value of use and implied emotion: Rama always leaves us with the impression that an object has lived.

In the most recent work Rama revisits her early subject matter with a sense of energized irony and expands into the environment of contemporary society as evidenced through series like 2001's La Mucca Pazza (The Mad Cow). Once more exploring iconographic self-awareness, the artist explains, "I like the cow because it's mad... so it has some remarkable similarities to us...for me these are extraordinary self-portraits." The narrative Rama has told throughout the various stages of her career, virtually calls us all to feel mired in her natural terrain. Disintegration and transformation always linger at the heart of the story. The extensive itinerary she has traveled in an effort to unearth the forms of her beginnings attest to Rama's irrefutably unrivaled singular position among artists spanning generations, both past and present.



from October 25, 2008 to December 20, 2008


Carol Rama

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