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The Prevalence of Ritual

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July 9September 4

The Kranzberg
501 N Grand Blvd
St. Louis, MO United States

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THE PREVALENCE OF RITUAL

BY RONALD YOUNG

July 9 — Sept. 4, 2021
The Kranzberg*

*Gallery visits by appointment only with COVID-19 mitigation policies in place. For questions or concerns, please contact [email protected]

My current studio practice involves recycling found objects from my immediate environment. Decayed decorative architectural features, old broken tools, rusty metals, and an abundance of St. Louis bricks are among the items I collect and repurpose into fragmented mixed media assemblages. The works are a blend of artistic practices from the West African people of the Congo/ Benin/Togo and Nigeria. I seek to incorporate into my assemblages the diasporic traditions of masks, sculpture, ancestry figures, and Nkisi n Kondi.

My assemblages are about the intersection of ideas and materials, visually represented through the juxtaposition of objects to invoke meaning which is both lyrical and visceral. The works are intentionally ambiguous and, just like the society they come from, full of contradictions. Embedded into the narrative of my assemblages are concepts of recontextualizing materials to make connections between the past and the present, America and Africa, the physical world, and the spiritual world.

The Prevalence of Ritual is a multi-disciplinary exhibition that explores the concept of The Power Object, the spiritual belief that all objects in nature have a soul. There are multiple levels of meaning to be derived from my harvesting of objects with strong autobiographical connotations, especially household items and tools. Such objects are “experienced” rather than “used” and are thus considered more spiritually potent. These Power Objects embody the collective consciousness of generations of African Americans rooted in the aesthetic traditions of Sankofa, the African concept of understanding one’s past in order to go forward.