phoenix institute of contemporary art (phICA) launches march 18th @ modified arts

As its inaugural project, phICA is pleased to present Arma Branca, an installation of ceramic objects by São Paulo, Brazil-based visual artist Laerte Ramos in his first solo exhibition in the United States.

Laerte Ramos, Arma Branca, Installation at Emma Thomas Gallery, Sao Paolo, Brazil


I first saw Laerte Ramos’ work in Brazil in 2010 and was drawn to it on several levels, curator Ted Decker says in response to my asking why he’s chosen Ramos’ work to launch phICA. He continues…One, when I saw the installation of objects from a distance on the wall, I was reminded of my own passion for collecting, arranging, showing, thinking about relationships between art works in my own home. The way the objects are installed looks like a collection of curiosities at first. Secondly, as one moves towards the art, the fact that they are shapes of guns is a surprise, and this made me more interested as to what Laerte was signifying, voicing. Third, as an Arizonan, it is difficult not to bring the cultural influence of guns to the work. While my intention is not to politicize this exhibit, what I like about it is that it forces personal response and interpretation, a seminal element of good contemporary art. It is work that I had trouble finding a venue for because of people’s interpretations of the work. Fourth, Laerte is a visual artist and does not peg himself as a ceramist. It is one of his materials, medias of choice in his overall liberated formal practice. He uses it to make objects, installations, and to be destroyed in performances. You know how I don’t like and try to resist labels and so I liked the idea of showing this work for that reason. In this exhibition, nothing is black or white –arma branca, though it translates from the Portuguese literally as white weapons, actually refers to daggers, swords, weapons that are not fired like guns are. Ceramic crumbles easily but in this work is used to represent objects made of steel.

Laerte Ramos anti-derrapante série camuflados 2010

I know Jon Haddock’s Isometric Screenshots will also be shown and I ask Ted how Haddock’s work connects. phICA and Modified are collaborating, Ted explains. There are 2 separate exhibitions going on in one space….trying something new, innovative, collaborative, lean and mean, more bang for buck which we in the arts must all think about.

New, innovative, collaborative….lean and mean… it’s why I’m sharing it. See you there.

Jon Haddock, Isometric Screenshots, Tiananmen Square (Beijing, 1989), 2000, digital image

The inaugural project for Phoenix Institute of Contemporary Art (phICA) will be Laerte Ramos: Arma Branca curated by Ted G. Decker in a community partnership with Modified Arts. This will be the first solo exhibition for Ramos, a São Paulo-based artist with a rapidly rising international reputation will attend. Concurrently at Modified Arts is a separate exhibition

Source Code featuring artists Jon Haddock, Jason Rorher, Carlo Zanni, and Paolo Pedercini who have used the integration of video game imagery in the digital age as a form to reflect on the nature and events of our current society.

In collaboration between phICA and Modified Arts, the two exhibits will be accompanied by a four-color handout featuring information about phICA, an essay about Ramos’s work by Daniela Name, an independent curator and art writer based in Rio de Janeiro, a text by Kim Larkin about Jon Haddock’s work, and color images of each artist’s work.

Who: phICA in collaboration with Modified Arts

What: Laerte Ramos: Arma Branca curated by Ted G. Decker
Source Code curated by Kim Larkin

Where: Modified Arts
407 E. Roosevelt
Downtown Phoenix

When: Opening Reception Friday, March 18th   6:00 – 9:00 pm
(Third Friday/Art Detour weekend)

What else: The exhibition continues through April 10th.
Laerte Ramos will attend the opening and will give a special tour of the exhibition at a “Meet and Greet” Community Roundtable on Saturday, March 19th at the gallery starting at 2:00 pm.
In addition, phICA and Shemer Art Center and Museum present Sunset at Shemer Happy Hour featuring Laerte Ramos on Thursday, March 17th from 5:00 – 7:00 pm.

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