BIOGRAPHY 1979 - 2007
Born: Memphis, Tennessee - 1953
1979 - 1980 Art Students League, NYC
1978 - 1979 Odyssey Studio, Atlanta, Georgia
1975 - 1978 Univ. of North Carolina / Greensboro
Selected Group Exhibitions:
-Alejandro Salles Gallery, Barcelona, Spain 1999
-DFA Gallery, Washington, DC 1997
Inaugural Exhibition: five painters
-Mahler Gallery, Washington, DC 1995
Ron Banks & Alex DeBoeck: Paper
-Mahler Gallery, Washington, DC, 1994
-Robert Brown Gallery, Washington, DC, 1992
-Anne Jaffe Gallery, Miami, FL, 1991
-Gallery SURE, Tokyo, Japan 1989
-Fendrick Gallery, Washington DC 1989
Small Format Works by Gallery Artist
-Fiell Gallery, London, Eng. 1989
-Fendrick Gallery, New York, NY, 1988
-Collector Gallery, Washington, DC, 1988
-Midtown Gallery, Washington DC 1981
Three Artists at Midtown
-Carr Mill Gallery, Carrboro, NC 1979
Ultimate Chroma: Recent Paintings
-Corcoran Gallery 1998, 1997, 1996, 1995
Corcoran/WPA Exhibition and Auction
-Gusman Cultural Center, Miami, FLA. 1991
Apotheosis: Symbol & Substance
-Center for Contemporary Art, N. Miami, Fla. 1991
-Danville Museum of Art, Danville, VA, 1987
- In Praise of Famous Neighborhoods
Candler Park Atlanta GA. 1979
United States Department of State
National Education Association
American Federation of Teachers
Consumer Life Insurance Co., Conn.
Kirkpatrick & Lockhart Washington, DC
Chase Bank, NYC
Latham and Watkins, Washington, DC
O'Melvany and Myers, Washington, DC
Kilpatrick and Cody, Arlington, VA
E. R. Carpenter Co., Richmond, Va.
Peter & Charlotte Fiell, London ENG
Carolina Builders Corp., Raleigh, NC
Haworth Inc., Washington DC
Western Development Corp., Wash., DC
Seagram & Sons, Washington, DC
Freddie Mac Assoc., Washington, DC
Fannie Mae Assoc. Washington, DC
Graphic Space, Los Angeles, Calif.
Bruce Lindsey, White House; Washington, DC
John Podesta,White House; Washington, DC
Proctor-Silex Co., Richmond, Virginia
Phillip Morris Company, NYC
Art in America, David Toulon
"Review of Exhibitions" November, 1988
Throughout his career, Ron Banks has
sought to explore the potential for architectural
dialogue in a two-dimensional, abstract format. Through the construction of structural
grids, Banks creates an under- lying aesthetic that speaks to modern architectural and
engineering plans, while his tactile surface textures and rich colors recall the more
ancient, though still largely architectural, aesthetic of encaustic and fresco techniques.
In effect, Banks seeks to work within a cumulative continuum of world art that can at
once address Roman wall paintings and the more formalistic, modernist concerns of
20th century Western contemporary abstract art and architecture.
GWEN MAHLER, 1997
Written for ART IN AMERICA magazine
Ron Banks' paintings immediately convey the feeling of a commingling of historical styles, with an intensely individual approach to modernist abstraction.
A series of works that he exhibited earlier this year in Washington at the Mahler Gallery, grouped together under the title The Miami Paintings', largely date from 1990-91 when the artist took a year away from his studio in New York to live and work in the sun-drenched, pastel environment of South Beach, Miami. The change had proved important, because while there is little characteristically 11Miami" about these paintings--save perhaps their overall cooler, and at times, even bleached palette--the move to Florida allowed the artist to enter into an intellectual dialogue with the primarily tactile and visual aspects of his previous work, as well as into a more self-conscious and selective relation to his acknowledged sources in art history. These sources, which Banks has credited in the past with inspiring the complex formal richness of his art, were here fully integrated into a more thoroughly conceptual premise that was central to each of the six large format (6' x 5 1/4' avg.) mixed media canvases, as well as to the nine smaller works on paper (42" x 35" avg.).By adopting a more objective stance toward picture construction even a calculated one in the sense of deliberately employing mathematical ratios between parts--Banks creates works that suggest a two dimensional architecture, often imposing a structural grid that literally "builds" the composition (using the artist's own expression). Into these, the language of his somewhat spiritualized and emotionally charged symbolism is imbedded, thereby achieving a unity of form and feeling that is made all the more striking by implicit but unmistakable references to both ancient and modern sources, and by Banks' use of a mysterious invented vocabulary from which he draws his titles. Works like Bosa Nu, Koom Re or Ter Herpere. vividly recall the planar organization and colors of ancient Roman wall paintings, with their clear divisions of areas of black, green, yellow or pale red, and superimposed white panels containing figurative details. The calligraphic flourishes of two large canvases, Ter Qan Meir and T'Gab Ostral bring medieval Arabic manuscripts to mind, or graffiti on the walls of ancient sites that the exotic but unintelligible) titles seem to evoke. The unusually varied mixed media employed further enhance these effects. Avoiding store-bought paints, Banks uses his own mixtures, at times combining up to a dozen different types of media into one work. This procedure allows him a remarkable atmospheric density when he wants it, or alternatively, an opaque tactile quality. The technique seems to evoke everything from ancient encaustic techniques to tiled box-car sidings.
Banks has been working towards an art that is at once "true," in the sense of pure abstraction, and "cumulative;" that is, with an awareness of its place in the continuum of world art. And, it is probably this deep sense of historical consciousness that lends such weight and clarity of purpose to these paintings. They are articulate works; full of scribbling, notes, mysterious numbers that refer to events in the history of their making, as well as measurements that can only be read close up on a painting that must be viewed from a distance to perceive its construction.The transmission of a sense of process, of a layering of experience in time, is particularly strong in a work like Wah Talm. giving the viewer a feeling of looking at a flattened blow-up of notes in. the artist's private journal. However, a few small format (11" x 15" approx.) collages also included in this exhibition were perhaps more suggestive in this vein. In two of these Banks juxtaposed bits of found texts with wallpaper scraps and other flotsam from his studio environment, using cut and painted forms to provide a visibly three dimensional) layered armature for them. The others, of more recent date, are actually made with pieces cut from his own earlier (pre-1990) works, as though Banks were literally incorporating his own pictorial history into a new synthesis of pure form and referential expression. Ron Banks at Mahler: "The Miami Paintings"
April 9 - May 14, 1994
THE WASHINGTON POST
C2SATURDAY, APRIL 16, 1994
GalleriesBy Lee Fleming
Special to The Washington Post
________________________________________Ron Banks at Mahler
The problem with Ron Bank's latest work, "The Miami Paintings" at Mahler Gallery, is that their abstract structural elements - squares, circles, rectangles and expressive charcoal lines - seem a poor man's version of "Ocean Park ' the series that defined the late Richard Diebenkorn's career.
The comparison is unfortunate, because these are good paintings, despite the ghosts of Diebenkorn , Mondrian and the modernist architects who haunt these abstract spaces. In these works resembling plans for a visionary, rational city, an impression of mathematical and architectural precision is underscored by numerical notations and formulae. Yet there is also a touch of magic-Bank's titles, "Mara Tull", "Koom Re " etc. sound like cullings from the cabala but in fact are invented, with meaning only to the artist.
Ordered, linear compositions are animated by hues of electric blue, rich gold-ochre and brilliant algae greens. At times, Banks imposes solidly painted bars (one ends in an extravagant scimitar shape) on the picture plane. The vaguely trompe l'oeil effect forces us to consider his airy structures as existing in three rather than two dimensions. While occasionally Bank's canvases suffer from tonal monotony that not even expressive symbols and calligraphy can redeem, the smaller works on paper demonstrate a lively sense of cohesion. Especially in the companion pieces "Bal-Toll" and "Wah-Tal", blocks, arrows, and bisecting arcs create strong, elegant forms that simultaneously imply elements of a flat plan and illusory structural volumes. Trigonometric formulae and written "instructions" champion the interpretation of the image as a design, yet we see them as occupying depth in space. Never setting his foot down firmly on one side or the other, Banks successfully manages the provocative tightrope walk between illusion and materiality. Ron Banks at Mahler: "The Miami Paintings"
April 9 - May 14, 1994
The Washington Post
Saturday, December 19, 1992
by Janet Wilson
RON BANKS at GOVINDA
_______________________________________________ Washington artist Ron Bank's abstract paintings, on view at Govinda Gallery, have an architectonic quality that indicates a penchant for rational, carefully structured compositions. On the other hand, he can't get enough of gesture markings, drips, stenciled letters and inscriptions, all of which inject a more personal element into his work. Playing off one aesthetic against it's opposite, he strives for a state of equilibrium between the two. His ten large works, all in mixed - media on paper, demonstrate that this can be a risky business.
Black forms - long rectangular bars or quasi- trapezoidal shapes anchor the compositions to their picture planes, giving them a sense of stability that the artist's subsequent efforts manage to subvert. Using various media ranging from paint to chalk and pencil, he builds up the surfaces and surrounds the black forms with all sorts of markings. These areas, with their pale and subdued colors and tangential quality tend to be over-powered by the stolid black forms. Many of the penciled inscriptions delve into matters geometrical, often with some relevance to Banks' approach to painting. In "Kasop-Po", the long inscription goes into detail about the golden section, the geometrical proportion considered the law of harmony of proportions in art. The best painting in the show is "Ankhai - Nu", whose inscription clearly articulates Banks' search for harmony in his work. He comes closest to going so here but for the most part has yet to achieve that goal despite his technical ability. ___________________________________________________________
Ron Banks, at Govinda Gallery, 1227 34th St. NW through Dec. 26.