As a child, I was educated to believe that I was living in a developed society. This I did not see. As my consciousness developed, I began to recognize the dysfunction of a world people call or think civilized.
I was the child ridiculed in school and did not understand at that age why no adult intervened so I could enjoy the daily routine like everyone else. This made it difficult for me to concentrate, which led to frustration. Artistic expression became an outlet. I could explore, invent and control without anxiety. But it wasn’t until my late twenties that I realized art would be my life’s work. The pivotal act that cemented this decision was a series of five manhole cover prints titled, “Mandela: a man and his Freedom” from Basel, Switzerland.
As a multi-disciplined, self-taught conceptual artist, my work is mostly social commentary or politically motivated, whether working in paint, installation/multimedia, or printmaking. My aesthetic is clean-lined, refined, organized and precise.
Unlike the rest of the work, my paintings are more traditional studio works, done in a time of meditation or self-reflection. I use simple geometric shapes, painted in a cool, saturated palette. A white field is used as negative space to form the compositions, in which I reach for harmony and serenity.
I find active engagement with the world through the placement of temporary art in public space or by creating on-site work. I often use familiar objects in installations in thought-provoking ways. Viewers are sometimes placed in an uncomfortable situation in order to question and re-examine their ideas or assumptions. My hope is to cultivate positive change over time through projects like “Military Un-Intelligence”, using landmines or guns of war in “Holy Ghost” or T-shirts in “T-shirt Tirade” or underwear in “Underneath it ALL”.
New York Foundation for the Arts is my umbrella organization and I have created two projects with them: “Silent March for HIV Prevention” and the “Y Project”. “Silent March” uses shoes belonging to people with HIV and AIDS, promoting non-discriminating AIDS awareness. I state, “AIDS makes no choices, You Do”. This project came at a time when I felt people needed to understand the devastating affect of AIDS through an identifiable medium.
“Untitled”, was created for a show at the Cambridge Arts Council titled “Dimensions Varied; Site Fixed”. Portraits of soldiers killed in Iraq are memorialized in the star field of the American Flag. It is called ‘Untitled” for I feel there are no words in any language I know that can fully express my emotion and dismay about the Iraq War.
In addition, over the past seventeen years, I have created prints made from manhole covers from around the world, which have been exhibited at the Musée des Egouts in Paris and at the Zhu Qi Zhan Art Museum in Shanghai, China, among other museums and galleries in the many countries I have visited.
For more information: www.RalphBrancaccio.com
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