Artwork by Thomas Ratté opening reception



The LAVA Center (324 Main St., Greenfield, MA 01301, Greenfield MA)

The LAVA Center is proud to display a new art exhibit by local artist Thomas Ratté. The exhibit can be viewed during gallery/cafe hours (Mondays, 11 a.m.–2 p.m.; Wednesdays, 11 a.m.–2 p.m.; Thursdays, 5–8 p.m. and Saturdays, noon–3 p.m.) and during special events (see the events calendar on our website for details).

Thomas will have a reception on Saturday, July 8, noon–3 p.m.

Thomas Ratté did his undergraduate work at Greenfield Community College and UMass, Amherst. He works with several mediums, painting, pencil, watercolor, and photography.

This show will consist of several mediums and visual experiences.

artist statement:

My work is a response to materials, rather than image. In this contemporary culture we undergo a constant media bombardment of images. Largely propaganda masquerading as advertising to convince us of some way we should think or feel to fit into some idea of who we think we want you to think we are. I am more interested in the chaos of the fractal universe unfolding around us. I revel in the accidental images found in wood grain or swirling smoke or wind blown sand or erosion. The way lichen grows or how a stain looks like a face. Or look in the cloud… a bunny or is it a whale? Yes. For the most part my visual art is more akin to the psychedelic experience than anything else. It’s escapist in a sense and yet immersive. I have worked more with how the materials move and shift and trying to figure out when to stop more so than trying to get somewhere. I’ve recently begun filling in my prints with the characters I find. Historically I have left them open so that they acted as more of a Rorschach inkblot test. These new pieces are fairly playful and were done in lockdown.

In April of 2020 I was incarcerated in New Hampshire for drug possession so I spent lockdown in lockdown. Ironic? Perhaps. I spent the next 16 months isolating and making art like so many of us all over the world. Due to the limited access to materials I began tearing the drawing paper into smaller and smaller pieces to be able to make more work. In the end I made nearly a thousand very small pieces in a variety of different styles.

Most of these pieces were done by blowing the ink from a ballpoint pen onto snack wrappers that I would wrinkle and press into the paper. The results varied widely based on the materials used.