MARCUS RATLIFF Exhibition installation views from Marcus Ratliff's graphic design archive.

The Art World: Forty Years of Graphic Design

Carl Solway Gallery showcases recent collages and selections from the graphic design archive of Marcus Ratliff. His intimate, small-scale collages incorporate paper imagery collected from countless sources over many years. His cut and pasted fragments take narrative form, often incorporating literary or mythological references. Ratliff's collages mark his return to personal artwork after an extremely successful, forty-plus-year career as a graphic designer. In his words, "It would have been strange for me to begin to paint on large canvases and return to the abstract expressionist paintings that I was doing in art school. So I worked with paper, scissors, knives and glue, just like I did as a designer."

Trained as a painter in the 1950s, Ratliff designed books, catalogues, posters, advertisements and announcements for the most significant galleries and museums in New York City. The Art World features an extensive selection from his graphic design archive. Several galleries have shown his collages in recent years, but the exhibition at Carl Solway Gallery is the first to juxtapose them side-by-side with his graphic design work.

A native of Cincinnati and graduate of Walnut Hills High School, Ratliff moved to New York City in 1956 to attend Cooper Union. He befriended the pop artists Jim Dine, Claes Oldenburg, Tom Wesselmann and Red Grooms. Dine and Wesselmann also moved to New York from Cincinnati. In 1959, during his third year of studies, while living at the Judson Student House off Washington Square, he started the Judson Gallery where he organized some of the first exhibitions for artists like Oldenburg and Wesselmann, who would become lifelong friends.

After graduate studies in painting at Yale, Ratliff returned to New York where he apprenticed in letterpress printing with a former professor at Cooper Union. The typesetting and printing skills he acquired led to his career in graphic design. He briefly worked for Time-Life books and Fortune magazine, but he soon gained so much freelance work that in 1967 he opened his own design studio. Leo Castelli provided Ratliff with many early gallery contacts. His design practice thrived through the 1960s, 1970s, 1980s and into the millennium. He now lives in Norwich, Vermont, where he makes collages, an art form he initially explored in the 1960s.

 

Untitled Untitled Untitled Untitled
Untitled Untitled Untitled Untitled
Untitled Untitled Untitled Untitled
Untitled Untitled Untitled Untitled
Untitled Untitled