Zara Ramsay

Ramsay is a mixed media artist working largely in sculpture. Born in Essex, now living and
working in London, her works draw on the conflicting sense of intrigue and estrangement
she feels towards contemporary Western society, specifically the objects around us. Using
her practice as a kind of quasi ethnography on her own society, the process of making
becomes means of exploring and working through these feelings- the resultant works
documentation of this. Ideas of belief, symbolism, value and labour are explored.
Drawing on an object or encounter Ramsay feels ambivalent towards, be it the latest
Balenciaga trainer or proliferation of “posh toast” images- all generally those tied to a trend
- she subjects them to changes in scale and material in an attempt to make them her own.
With both sincerity and satire she endeavours to give meaning to the seemingly
superficial.


At the heart of Ramsay’s practice is a concern towards our changing relation to making,
(dis)connection to objects and ultimately what lies both beneath our feet and beyond our
sight. Looking to remedy this, she often researches practices and dying crafts, seeking out
individuals across the UK willing to pass on their skills. Most recently this has seen her
learning wheat weaving from a member of the Guild of Strawcraftsman.

‘Seasonal Exaltations’
Birch Ply, Pine, Silicone
130 x 60 x 6cm
2021

‘Beaded’ rods inserted at two varying heights across an organic like form create an
undulating, ripple faced sculpture. Based on the tread of a Balenciaga Trainer, enlarged
and hung on the wall, the piece comes to look almost ritualistic. With each rod individually
inserted by hand, the labour intensive process created a ritual like act of its own accord. As
such, the work both mocks the way contemporary trend objects are treated with this
pseudo-reverence, whilst trying to create with a new, deeper meaning from the seemingly
superficial.


Moving in and out of focus, the work creates a reflective, contemplative space for the
viewer. Tied with the natural materials, the ‘beads’ actually offcuts from honey dippers, the
work seeks to reground us, both literally and metaphorically. It calls for us to be in the
present moment, to the earth beneath our feet, whilst allowing our minds to wander the
great expanse of Mother Earth, and all that lies beyond.
As suggested by the title, ‘Seasonal Exaltations’, this piece pits the seasonal timeline of
the fashion industry against the larger, continual seasons in nature, asking us to
reevaluate our values both personally and as a society.