Artist Profile: Ronni Komarow

TENDER MERCIES

Ronni mainPhoto By Michela West

Written By Barbara Lindstrom

Rarely do I come into a gallery and want to eat the artwork. That was my first impulse upon seeing Ronni Komarow’s large installation, Diary of a Bake Sale Diva. There’s much to savor in this show.

At its heart is an installation of over 400 papier-maché cupcakes, suspended in mid-air and slowly whirling about, amidst a sea of intimate messages written in crayon, many composed by her students, and written out by her and her daughter. Intimate accounts of family life are conveyed in the language of everyday thoughts and exchanges. Tender Mercies lets us into a confection of carefully crafted artwork, and includes art book portraits of Ronni’s husband, son, and daughter. This work is suffused with poignancy and affection. “Artwork presented here is inspired by tender mercies that have enriched my life,” Ronni tells us. “We all have experiences large and small that work to transform who we are.”

ronni photo 1Photo By Barbara Lindstrom

I then asked Ronni what made her want to focus on this theme of family and education. Was there something in the news these days that prompted a closer look from her perspective? In response, Ronni described how she got her MFA ten years before, while a mother of school-aged children. Her graduate advisors encouraged her to explore her own identity and individuality. “I felt like the most boring person on the planet, a mom raising kids. How could this inspire an art practice? My eureka moment came,” she continued, “when I realized that this could actually be a good thing. My own voice, my sense of everyday, had a power all its own. I began working with themes that reflected my life – themes of motherhood, family and community.”

ronni photo 2Photo By Barbara Lindstrom

Komarow felt that the development process has been a long one, since the “legacy” of artwork engaging these themes tends to be quite limited even now. She further gained some ground as a guest curator for the Museum of Motherhood (initially in NYC and now in St. Petersburg, FL.). An earlier version of “Diary of a Bake Sale Diva” was part of the opening exhibition there. A second version was shown as part of Rutgers University’s Feminist Art Project (their annual “Day of Panels”) in Chicago in 2014. The current version is truly a new work and is designed specifically for the space at Galatea.

Ronnie feels fortunate that the timing of her exhibit coincides with a new emergence of feminism and a rethinking of views of parenting, community and equity. She notes that current news stories have focused on issues related to public education, childhood education, literacy and so on, and that the installation incorporates references to all of these.

Ronni photo 3 crppedPhoto By Barbara Lindstrom

Visitors to Komarow’s exhibition have the chance of buying paper-maché cupcakes, just like the ones suspended in the installation. The proceeds will go to Reach Out and Read, a Boston-based children’s literacy program. Also available are hand-bound, digitally-printed reproductions of some of the artist’s books.

Ronni KomarowTender Mercies, October 3-28, Galatea Fine Art, 460 Harrison Avenue, #B-6 Boston, MA, 02118, 616-542-1500. Gallery Hours Wednesday-Sunday 12-5pm and by appointment.

See more news of Ronni’s installation:

Visit ArtScopes instagram https://www.instagram.com/p/Boj58vKBBGD/

Postings about “Tender Mercies” by UNESCO-UNITWIN here:

A feature on the UNESCO/UNITWIN blog, here: https://unitwin.blogspot.com/2018/09/save-dates-for-ronni-komarows-upcoming.html

And here’s the earlier UNESCO/UNITWIN Facebook announcement: Unesco/ Unitwin Network at WGS BU

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