Debra Ramsay is an American abstract artist who creates acrylic paintings, drawings and installations that explore the conceptual interplay between color, line and surface. She lives and works in New York City.
Ramsay graduated from the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn in 1984 then earned her BA from Brooklyn College in 1986. She also attended Oregon State University in Corvallis, OR, graduating in 1999. She’s been awarded residencies with the Albers Foundation and The Golden Family Foundation, both in New York, and the BAU Institute in Otranto, Italy.
Debra Ramsay - Fall, Yellow Trail and Winter, Yellow Trail, installation shot
Ramsay’s technique begins with an idea. From there she chooses the appropriate medium and method with which to realize her concept. Much of her work is painted with acrylic paint applied to polyester film, paper or museum board.
Ramsay’s process engages a systematic, mathematical approach heavily influenced by color. She interacts with nature, documents the shifting colors of elements of the natural environment, such as landscapes, fruit, leaves and trees. Often, she returns to the same exact spot at different periods throughout the year, documenting the shifting colors over time.
Back in the studio, she then feeds the colors she documents into a computer program, analyzing them and using the analyses to mix paint.
The resulting work presents an abstraction of specific spaces or objects in time, informed by mathematics and explored through geometry and color.
Debra Ramsay - 72 colors found during one year on the Yellow Trail, 2016
Ramsay’s work is informed by nature, the seasons, changing landscapes and the passing of time. She is inspired by systems, mathematics and geometry, and engaged in the practice of applying those fields of thought to the abstract interpretation of color, space and time. Her work is heavily influenced by a quote from the German-born, American abstract artist Josef Albers: “There is a profound harmony in the immeasurable spectrum of color.”
In February of 2015, Carl Belz of the Left Bank Art Blog wrote about Debra Ramsay, saying:
“(Her) vertical clusters and horizontal stacks recall color field paintings from the 1960s by Gene Davis and Kenneth Noland. Debra Ramsay mentioned her…interest in creating an “ego-less” art… a radical ambition at a time when individual empowerment and expression are everywhere promoted in our culture…Against such excess Debra Ramsay sounds an alternative note in describing herself as a meditative agency, “a conduit for the arrangement of shape and the placement of color…”
Debra Ramsay - detail
Ramsay’s work has been extensively exhibited in numerous solo and group shows across the United States, as well as in Italy, Thailand and Germany. She has been written about and interviewed in the press.
Ramsay’s work is included in numerous private, corporate and institutional collections, including those of Alliance Bernstein, New York and the Ritz Carlton, Dubai.
Minus Space, Brooklyn, NY (flat files)
ODETTA, Brooklyn, NY
TSA, Brooklyn, NY