Join us for a conversation to celebrate our current Emerging Artist Program exhibition Ramekon O'Arwisters: Freeform and Razor-Sharp. O'Arwisters will be joined in conversation by artist George McCalman. This program takes place in-person at MoAD, masks are required throughout the museum.
About the Exhibition
Ramekon O’Arwisters is a multimedia artist primarily known for his captivating freeform sculptures which experiment with vibrant color, repurposed ceramics, and rich traditions of quilting and weaving. By entangling shards of broken clay, shredded fabric, and discarded materials, the artist contemplates the tangible nature of emotional trauma. Experiencing constant vulnerability as a Black and queer man from the American South, O’Arwisters explores dualities of protection and danger through building what he refers to as “cultural totems” in his work. Receiving his Master of Divinity from Duke University Divinity School, O’Arwisters carries a unique lens on spiritual traditions, and incorporates these healing methods within his artistic practice.
In this exhibition, Freeform and Razor-Sharp, we have selected key sculptures from O'Arwisters’ studio that span several years of his formal experimentations and place them in conversation with his additional practice of black-and-white photography. As an extension of his conceptual process, these self-portraits employ a transference of materials from O’Arwisters’ sculptures to create a sharp and intimate dialogue with his own body.
O’Arwisters draws the viewer into his ethereal world, while withholding evident displays of his sorrow or joy. Instead, he insists on abstraction, and encourages the viewer to grapple with their own internal fears and wounds. Through a deeply meditative process, O’Arwisters pieces together what once was abandoned and neglected to reimagine the possibilities of collective liberation.
About the Artists
Ramekon O’Arwisters is the founder of Crochet Jam, a community-arts project infused with folk-art traditions that foster a creative culture in cooperative relationships. Born in Kernersville, North Carolina, O’Arwisters earned a M.Div. from Duke University Divinity School in 1986. O’Arwisters is the 2021 recipient of the McLaughlin Foundation Award for The Project Space at Headlands Center for the Arts, Artist-in-Residence program and a Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant for 2020/21. Past artist-in-residence programs include the de Young Museum Artist in Residence, the Djerassi Resident Artists Program, Recology San Francisco Artist in Residence Program and the Vermont Studio Center. Grants and Awards include Artadia: The Fund for Art and Dialogue, NY; the San Francisco Foundation; the San Francisco Arts Commission Cultural Equity Initiatives Program; Black Artists Fund, Sacramento; and the Eureka Fellowship awarded by the Fleishhacker Foundation in San Francisco. Upcoming museum exhibitions include the San Francisco Museum of Craft and Design, FIGHT AND FLIGHT: CRAFTING A BAY AREA LIFE; American Museum of Ceramic Art (AMOCA), Making in Between: Gender Identities in Clay (MIB:GIC); and San Jose Museum of Quilts & Textiles, Queer Threads. O’Arwisters is the founder of Crochet Jam, a community arts project infused with folk-art traditions that foster a creative culture in cooperative relationships. Learn more at www.ramekon.com
George McCalman is an artist and creative director based in San Francisco and Grenada. His design studio McCalman Co collaborates with a wide range of cultural clients. McCalman’s background in the editorial world has been a foundation of his storytelling, and his decision to cultivate his fine art practice alongside brand work reframed his perspective and synthesized the importance of design. His first book ‘Illustrated Black History: Honoring the Iconic and Unseen’ was published in Sept 2022 to profound accolades by The New Yorker’s Hilton Als, NPR, The New York Times, and The San Francisco Chronicle. His book won an NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work by a Debut Author in Feb 2023.