For the month of August, Woolworth Walk will highlight local artist Justin Ramsey in the F.W. Gallery. In Search of New Ways will explore the psychological and spiritual elements of the human condition through Ramsey’s work, including paintings from a new series called “Dancing Mountains and Mandalas.” Ramsey, who has lived in Asheville for 12 years, says he fell in love with the mountains during childhood vacations to Western North Carolina from his home in Charleston, SC. “The land rising up into the sky before us is not only aesthetically beautiful but also offers grand perspective of our place on Earth,” he says. “I really liked the fantastical thought of dancing mountains, and the mandala element resonates strongly with me as I incorporate more mindfulness and meditation into my life.” A self-taught artist, Ramsey first started painting in grade school and used art as a way to process his coming of age. “I was obsessed at a young age with the work of the surrealists, particularly Salvador Dalí, and the stream-ofconsciousness poetry of William Carlos Williams,” he says. “Their influences are still present in my work.”
This strategy of using art as a tool to cope and process life experiences has never left him. Ramsey calls his creative approach “stream of consciousness,” which means his personal life directly affects his art in a variety of ways. While deep, emotional concepts inform his work, there are also traces of whimsy that Ramsey hopes his audience will note with a smile.
The artist’s current body of work is largely influenced by a difficult break-up that happened last year. “This show represents, in part, my processing of this challenging life experience, while also letting go and moving forward to create a new vision,” he says. “Life can be very messy at times, and that is okay. From these times, we can look inward and adopt growth-oriented practices that can assist us in finding purpose and new visions that motivate and nourish us.”
F.W. Gallery at Woolworth Walk is located at 25 Haywood Street in downtown Asheville. Gallery hours are Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Friday, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.; and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, call 828.254.9234 or visit woolworthwalk.com.