“Good News”
Mixed media collage on canvas (acrylic, shellac, resin, gouache and paper)
11 x 11 inches
2020
$2,500
“Pulling the Thread”
Mixed media collage on canvas (acrylic, shellac and paper)
11 x 11 inches
2020
$2,500
“I Have to Live with Living with You”
Mixed media collage on canvas (acrylic, shellac, resin, gouache, spray paint, and paper)
11 x 11 inches
2020
$2,500
“I Have to Live with Living with You” (detail)
Mixed media collage on canvas (acrylic, shellac, resin, gouache, spray paint, and paper)
11 x 11 inches
2020
$2,500
“Wonder Bread”
Mixed media collage on canvas (acrylic, shellac, resin and paper)
11 x 11 inches
2020
$2,500
“My Right Foot”
Mixed media collage on canvas (acrylic, shellac, gouache and paper)
11x 11 inches
2020
$2,500
“I Lost the Plot”
Mixed media collage on canvas (acrylic, shellac, spray paint and paper)
9 x 12 inches
2015
$2,500
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Bio Synopsis

Erika Ranee received her BA from Wesleyan University, her BFA from the School of Visual Arts in New York, and her MFA in painting from the University of California at Berkeley. She is the recipient of a New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA) Fellowship in Painting, an AIM Fellowship from the Bronx Museum, and was granted artist residence at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture. In 2009 she was an AIRspace resident at Abrons Arts Center and was awarded a studio grant from The Marie Walsh Sharpe Art Foundation in 2011. Her work has been exhibited widely in New York: at the Bronx Museum, in The Last Brucennial, The Parlour Bushwick, BravinLee Programs, Storefront Ten Eyck, FiveMyles, TSA Gallery, David & Schweitzer Contemporary, MAW Gallery and in a group exhibition at the Southampton Arts Center. In 2018 her work was featured in concurrent New York groups shows at Lesley Heller Gallery, Klaus von Nichtssagend Gallery, Freight+Volume; and, at Geoffrey Young Gallery in Great Barrington, Mass. — as well as at two concurrent solo exhibitions in Brooklyn at Ground Floor Gallery and BRIC/Project Room. In 2019 solo shows of her work were held at Freight+Volume as well as at Lesley Heller Gallery/Project Space; and featured in a group show at Wild Palms in Dusseldorf, Germany.

Artist’s Description

In this series of small paintings the collage applications are collected materials both pasted on and embedded in the surface. I’m decontextualizing language from vintage postcard correspondences. Around 20 years ago, I was researching black stereotypes and collecting postcards with the most egregious images from the 1930s and 1940s. Each image was illustrated in a cartoon design with varying (alarming) compositions:  an abundance of small Black children and Black men being devoured by alligators, a lone Black man receiving a public lashing by a white man in front of an all white audience; Black people looking like monkeys — lots of black coloring of the skin with oversized red or white lips and big dilated bug eyes; “mammies” with handkerchief heads and “uncles” with shredded clothing — watermelons and opossums abound as props. Needless to say my extended research of black stereotypes was draining, so I put it all aside and said goodnight.

I saved all of my materials though, and in light of recent societal events, I’m revisiting elements of my former focus. I’d exhausted all interest in the grotesque images and decided to flip to the other side of the postcards. I wanted to know who was writing messages on said cards and where were they sending them? I amassed my postcard collection from dealers around New England, where I’m from. As it turns out, the postcards were sent from various locations throughout the south: Florida, South Carolina, Virginia, Georgia, etc., to points north: Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Connecticut, etc. White Northerners on vacation or visiting family down south were sending updates of their travels in the south to their white loved ones up north.

It was revelatory how disconnected the two sides of the postcard were. Here are these terrible images of Black people on one side and the sweetest, most tender succinct notes to a mother, niece, or son lovingly inscribed on the other side. In 2016, for a solo project in Nashville, Tennessee, I decided to make works on paper projecting those exact handwritten notes onto a larger scale paper. I hand-cut each word from the written notes to conceptually hollow out their impact. I recently found the cuttings from that project while organizing my studio and decided to use them as collage elements in these new works. My current work is about building surfaces with layers of history. Be it the benign detritus of daily actions, to found or observed text from various topical sources. I add this deconstructed mash-up of layers over time in an intuitive approach until it feels complete. 

– Peter Hastings Falk