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Stephen Towns and Ramsess at Art + Practice

By Yxta Maya Murray

November 13, 2019

In their exquisite quilts, the artists Ramsess and Stephen Towns suture black memory onto the chaos of the present day. While Towns emphasizes handwork in his study of black lives, Ramsess overwhelms the viewer with the beauty of that which has been lost—each urging their unique interpretations of black history and mourning.

Together, Towns and Ramsess offer two guides to black and American history and the griefs that both include. Towns’ work guides us through our anger by reminding us of how we rebuild our lives through a steady and stumbling effort that is imperfect but still beautiful. Ramsess offers another route, one perhaps more in keeping with our immediate feelings of outrage and catharsis: he is sure that the viewer knows that what was taken from us was holy, and that its loss should bring us to our knees.

Read the full article here.

Stephen Towns, Birth of a Nation(detail) (2014). Natural and synthetic fabric, polyester and cotton thread, metallic thread, Thermoweb, cotton/polyester blend batting, coffee and tea stain, and acrylic paint, 90 x 66 inches. Image courtesy of the artist and Art+ Practice. Photo: Joshua White.

Stephen Towns, Birth of a Nation(detail) (2014). Natural and synthetic fabric, polyester and cotton thread, metallic thread, Thermoweb, cotton/polyester blend batting, coffee and tea stain, and acrylic paint, 90 x 66 inches. Image courtesy of the artist and Art+ Practice. Photo: Joshua White.

In their exquisite quilts, the artists Ramsess and Stephen Towns suture black memory onto the chaos of the present day. While Towns emphasizes handwork in his study of black lives, Ramsess overwhelms the viewer with the beauty of that which has been lost—each urging their unique interpretations of black history and mourning.

Together, Towns and Ramsess offer two guides to black and American history and the griefs that both include. Towns’ work guides us through our anger by reminding us of how we rebuild our lives through a steady and stumbling effort that is imperfect but still beautiful. Ramsess offers another route, one perhaps more in keeping with our immediate feelings of outrage and catharsis: he is sure that the viewer knows that what was taken from us was holy, and that its loss should bring us to our knees.

Read the full article here.