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Ricky is concerned with feelings rather than current preoccupations with Things. His feelings, like bone splinters, wound as they possess him. He uses the physical language of action – ‘to paint’ – to relieve him of the oppressive burden.
The modest things that count to him in his day-by-day life are tools and vital materials: canvas, gesso, brushes, pencils, oils, turpentine, Indian ink, charcoal and oil sticks. His richly illustrated notebooks dashed with swathes of colour lead to his austere painted canvases.
Ricky is self-conscious. For some this leads to self-preoccupation. For some, as Ricky
it is a curse imposed upon those who are susceptible to other’s agony. Because of this he conjures his character’s out of finely ground earth, out of an imagination sustained by compassion, and out of the inexplicable madness of others. Often he asks, “Why”, as should we all.
This appreciation of his work shows his working practice, some of his many paintings and reveals the sense of an artist of our times.
You can purchase a PDF of this illustrated essay.
Amy Van Zyl –
Marking Injustice: A Painter’s Way of Coping
By Amy Van Zyl (Aged 18)
Somewhat unsurprisingly, to feel the beating pulse of the world is both a blessing and a curse. This is perhaps the struggle that Ricky Romain’s paintings embody so poignantly, so beautifully. They contain, within the frenzied mark making and the depth of tone in the absence of colour, an exorbitant sense of loss, an incandescent grief. And yet we see faces, human faces, clutching at negative-images of loved ones; the lost voices. A world of “shadow men” which Ricky cannot forget and so he paints them, to render their lost abstraction tangible and to be shared. In this he is able to demonstrate an enormous sense of hope. His art; the shared acknowledgement of human existence, the extending of a hand to say that he too feels what it is to be so that you cannot look away.