One Response to Behind the Grey – slideshow

  1. Nic Ramsden MA PGCE October 23, 2023 at 8:36 am #

    Spiritual in the Abstract
    An evening with Deborah Ravetz, Artist talk about her new exhibition ‘Behind the Grey’ at SVAF
    Sevenoaks on the 6 September 2023
    I have been asked to publish my notes after a talk by artist Deborah Ravetz, with added
    reflections. I mean not to undertake a critique of the artist work but reflect on Deborah’s message
    and explore the context of art with her own references as well as my own. I will take the personal
    touch and refer to the artist in her first name. Finally, I will explore Deborahs’ brief reference to
    surface and re-examine the works in reference to her recent journey. The following, I confess is
    from discovering Deborah for the first time and only my personal reflections, with apologies for any
    obvious error and omissions about the artist.
    ‘Philosophy, theology, self-journey, trauma, life, re-discovery, salvation, finding, reaffirmation as
    artist, artist as secondary’. These are the initial notes taken, not for this piece but to understand
    my own personal connection with Deborahs’ journey. Most or possible all artist travel on a wave of
    self-analysis, reflection of oneself and understanding pain. A minority will openly access this store
    examine the self to the point whereby the art is secondary to the process of thought. I call this art
    as residue, like conceptual art, residue is more spiritual. Deborah appears to have successfully
    tapped in to her existence, presence and emotion to understand her recent trauma of illness and
    recovery. Realising who we are and being in the moment. ‘I exist in the now’ or ‘I exist’. No ‘brain
    in the tank’; going through pain makes that argument obsolete I believe. Being ill or experiencing a
    trauma is unique to that person. No one understands what it is to feel and experience any
    particular senses of pain and chemical releases in the brain; because that person experienced it
    through the lease of their own unique past and life journey. Deborah is tapping into this
    phenomena I believe as art and appears to be a philosopher artist not artist philosopher
    [fundamental difference]. Many go through pain and trauma and Deborah experienced a deeper in
    site in the ‘the self’ going through her particular trauma. I say trauma; the artist’s experience
    appears to be severe illness. That is the medical reference. As I am not a doctor, I will refer to it a
    trauma from a philosophy of art context, that is ‘trauma’ as a life experience of a human being.

    Pain is one of the attributes we understand as ‘adverse’ yet all are delivered in to life through pain.
    Pain is life and it is this context that Deborah is not only reflecting in her life but trauma as the
    residue in her works. The residue of pain, trauma and most importantly, recovery.
    Deborah referenced Keifer and Bueys this evening, two German artists I also hold in high regard.
    Keifer reflects many times on the broken lands and scorched earth of post war Germany. A trauma
    of self-existence of a people who didn’t realise they were dancing with the Devil. Joseph Bueys
    took the devil dollar as a Luftwaffe Stuka bomber gunner, coincidentally in Ukraine, and fought on
    the Crimean front. Bueys’ existence as an artist was as self-deliverance of trauma, of not only
    nearly dying in a crash but the post war realisation that his war time existence was flawed.
    Deborah relates these reinterpretations of existence, of reevaluating our perception of own human
    existence. Keifer and Bueys are ‘artist journey man’, philosopher artist, exploring inside outside
    separate of existence. Keifer is a spiritual artist who speaks of existence and a conversation of
    existing in the world. I believe it is this that Deborah makes reference to, that is, it is the
    experience of existing though her illness [her unique to her circumstance] that is the art. Like
    Deborah, Bueys uses social art to create a language of experience. Deborah, again, I believe
    reflected on her re-evaluation of her childhood. Re-evaluation turns to self-awareness, realisation
    and thankfully for her, the conversation.

    I shift now to the essence of her works and in reference to the above. Exploring the moment re-
    evaluation, leads me to two more phrases; ‘Hope’ and ‘infrathin’. Marcel Duchamp refers to

    infrathin as the gap between 2 things [he refers to the gap between 2 halves of a casting mould].
    Hope, is a human construct after a trauma, and leads to recovery. Recovery cannot start without
    hope. I’ll come make to these element in a moment.
    I have spoken little of the art works on purpose however Deborah alluded to the phrase ‘surface’.
    A key work that indicates subtly of texture. Its also indicates a conversation of a 3-dimensional
    nature or a flat plain. Viewers will have noted that edging of her canvas are also painted. I invite
    the viewer to imagine this work with white gesso edges. No critique here however the point is that
    this is a conscious decision by the artist. Deborah regards this work as abstract, and I believe they
    are abstract forms as sculptural abstract painting. The works are deep, layered and veiled. There
    is a sense of theatre with back drops that create negative space between holes in the veils. A
    practice mastered by artist Howard Hodgkin who creates a work over a long being of time.
    Deliberately painting one brush stroke as a metaphysical ‘depth of field’ in time. Deborah makes
    this consideration as well. Time is about recovery and vice versa. Now, one could consider the
    painted layer as hope, with the gaps in between these layers as infrathin to represent recovery
    and rest. Perhaps we can consider rest and recovery as a dichotomy, positive elements as well
    as adverse moments of reflective trauma. Deborah’s paintings are of hope. The title ‘Behind the
    Grey’ is I believe two fingers to or defiant gesture to the trauma and also the self-analysis of her
    past. The viewer will of course note the hopeful bright colours in her work, are a vibrancy of
    defiance that ebb and flow in some and beams out in others. I make reference to one painting; that
    is ‘Life behind the grey’. Exuberant blue normally associated with low ebb but here, it presents
    recovery, seeing the light; hope. It is veiling the trauma and winning. The artist stated she is or
    remains in recovery. Perhaps we can, our selves, take grace from recovery, as taking time to
    pause, self-reflect and recover from elements that yet to reveal themselves to us. Waiting for the
    Huge thank you to SVAF for organising a very enlightening evening and to Deborah Ravetz for her
    art, bravery and spirituality.
    6 September 2023

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