"For me the word Flesh means above all apprehension, hair standing on end, flesh laid bare with all the intellectual profundity of this spectacle of pure flesh and all its consequences for the senses, that is, for the sentiments." - Antonin Artaud For twenty years, Christina Ramberg sustained an investigation of the human condition via the body, as it is made opaque and inscrutable by the apparel and adornment in which it is dressed. Shrunk, frayed, patched, torn, wrinkled-Ramberg pushes the problem of the garment well beyond metaphor. Her paintings are among the most personal work to emerge out of Chicago's Imagist group. In her late abstractions, attire falls away completely, revealing a raw spiritual mechanism that is decidedly impure. In their catalogue essays, Dennis Adrian and Carol Becker each trace the course of Ramberg's continuous meditations on the body through her art-Adrian on the paintings formal and symbolic significance, and Becker on their psychological explorations of female embodiment and subjectivity.
Dennis Adrian is adjunct associate professor of art history, theory, and criticism at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Richard A. Born is curator at the David and Alfred Smart Museum of Art. Michael Rooks is assistant curator at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago.
Carol Becker is Professor of the Arts and Dean of Faculty at Columbia University School of the Arts in New York City. She has written for many print and online publications on varied topics, including the intellectual lives and emotional well-being of women. Her recently reissued book The Invisible Drama: Women and the Anxiety of Change has been translated into six languages.