Biography

Born and raised in upstate NY to a recently widowed military wife, Richard G. Ramsdell received his first camera when he was 5 (a bribe to be his aunts’ ringbearer). By 12 he had escaped to the safety of a laundry-room darkroom, choosing print-making over camera work. It was then that he began a life-long obsession with found/collected/appropriated imagery.

Ramsdell graduated from the Rochester Institute of Technology, Salzburg College and the University of Florida. From the 80’s through the early 00’s he gathered a number of fellowships, grants and (inter)national exhibitions. In ’91 he began working digitally and in ’02 this work transitioned into experimental video under the alias Nietzsche Jones. 

He returned in 2015 to creating 2d visual art and began publishing digital books as well. Two of these are his unconventional illustration and design of Sun Tzu’s The Art of War and the original story Urban Legend: The True Story of the Cooper Family Falling Body Photo, (from the eponymous internet hoax based on an image that unknown to Ramsdell, the creator, had been appropriated from one of his early websites).

Ramsdell continues to utilize the appropriated image as he enters the next phase of his career. He lives in Sarasota, Florida.

Statement

I mix contemporary and historical imagery from a variety of cultures in a quest to create art that represents the world I have come to know. 

As a pre-teen I began re-photographing printed images in order to make pictures of the things I was interested in; a process that I didn’t recognize as either appropriation, sampling, re-mixing or copyright infringement. (As I got older and more educated I came to understand and identify with these terms.) Eventually my passion for criticizing our society took a collaborative approach towards the viewer. My work was and is a series of leading questions rather than a collection of narrow statements. A story or puzzle, if you will.

My process has always involved the collection of images. At first these images were family snapshots and pictures from books. With time I built a collection of 19th and early 20th century glass-plate negatives, magic lantern slides, travel slides from the ’70s, and x-rays. With the beginning of digital imaging my process moved from the darkroom to the desktop. The subsequent explosion of public domain imagery on the internet brought sources for material that have grown exponentially. (Unlike during my youthful indiscretions I now limit myself to public domain sources.) 

As a naïve younger artist I thought that by altering the images that society produced I could somehow affect a change. Now, I simply like what I make. I hope there may be others who like it as well.

C.V.

awards & honors

1996 Visiting Artist, University of Idaho, Moscow, ID
Gilbert Paper Company – Materials Donation
Hewlett-Packard – Materials Donation
1995 N.E.A./Southern Arts Federation Fellowship, Atlanta, GA
Gilbert Paper Company – Materials Donation
1994 Art Matters, Inc. Fellowship, New York, NY
1992 Artist in Residence: the Ecole Nationale de la Photographie – Arles,
France
1991 N.E.A./Southern Arts Federation Fellowship – Atlanta, GA

collections

The Southeast Museum of Photography
The John & Mable Ringling Museum of Art
Ecole Nationale de la Photographie
The University of Idaho Prichard Art Gallery

films

2018 Horse Powers: From the Land of the Vikings (PBS documentary)
“Best International Feature Documentary”, Equus Film Festival
Brooklyn, NY
“Official Selection”, Fort Myers Film Festival Ft Myers, FL
2015 Projections & Reflections (exp. short)
“Official Selection” Blowup: Chicago Int’l Arthouse Film Festival
Bristel Goodman (narrative feature film)
“Official Selection” 2015 Freak Show Film Festival, Orlando, FL
“Official Selection” 2015 Seattle Transmedia & Independent Film
Festival, Seattle, WA
“Official Selection” 2014 Palm Springs International Film Festival,
Palm Springs, CA

solo exhibitions

1997 “The Big Picture”, Sarasota Visual Arts Center, Sarasota, FL
1996 “Panavision”, University of Idaho, Prichard Art Gallery Moscow, ID
University of Nevada, Reno, NV
hacksaw sublime”, Kanega, Sarasota, FL
1995 Blue Sky – Oregon Center for the Photographic Arts, Portland, OR
Chronicle of Contempt”, Kanega, Sarasota, FL
1994 “Innuendo”, Southeast Museum of Photography, Daytona Beach, FL

group exhibitions (virtual)

2020 “{PHILIA / PHOBIA}”, Coffin Bell, Vol.3 Issue 2.
“Twenty-Nineteen”, The Esthetic Apostle, February 2020

group exhibitions (physical)

2002 “4th Annual Video Marathon”, Art in General, New York, NY
2nd Tagawa International Short Film Matsuri, Tagawa, Japan
2000 “Making Pictures: Contemporary American Photography”,
Asheville Art Museum, Asheville, NC
1999 “Faculty Exhibition“, USF Contemporary Art Museum,
Tampa, FL
1998 “Featuring Florida”, John & Mable Ringling Museum of Art,
Sarasota, FL
Visual Synergy”, Court House Cultural Center, Stuart, FL
1997 “12+1”, Sarasota Visual Arts Center, Sarasota, FL
1996 “Blue Sky 20th Anniversary”, Oregon School of Arts & Crafts,
Portland, OR
Featuring Florida”, John & Mable Ringling Museum of Art,
Sarasota, FL
The Assembled Image”, Palm Beach Photographic Museum,
Delray Beach, FL
CompuArt@unomaha”, University of Nebraska Art Gallery,
Omaha, NB
Cyber Art”, Sarasota Visual Arts Center, Sarasota, FL
Halo Anatomy”, Kanega, Sarasota, FL
1995 Mississippi Museum of Art, Jackson, MS
Third Annual New York Digital Salon”, School of Visual Arts,
New York, NY
LiveWire”, The University of Derby, Derby, England
European East-West Art Festival”, Wroclaw, Poland
“COFAX ‘95”, The Academy of Fine Arts and Design,
Bratislava, Slovakia
Between and Combined, Regarding History & Fiction in Portraiture”,
Art Workers’ Union, Memphis, TN
1993 “Featuring Florida”, John & Mable Ringling Museum of Art
Sarasota, FL
1992-3 University of Montevallo, Birmingham, AL
Sumter Gallery of Art, Sumter, SC
Bloomingdale Park District Museum, Bloomingdale, IL
Savannah College of Art and Design, Savannah, GA
1992 “SCAN ‘92”, Franklin Institute, Philadelphia, PA
National Showcase Exhibition”, Alternative Museum, NYC, NY
Retroactive”, University of Florida Art Gallery, Gainesville, FL
Polk Community College Fine Art Gallery, Winter Haven, FL
1990 “New Visions”, Florida Center for Contemporary Art, Tampa, FL
1989 University of South Florida Art Museum, Tampa, FL
1988 “Perceptive Perspective”, Florida Center For Contemporary Art,
Tampa, FL
This is Not A Theme Show”, Florida Center For Contemporary Art,
Tampa, FL
1987 J.E. Vorhees Gallery, Sarasota, FL
Florida Center For Contemporary Art Tampa, FL
1986 “The Tallahassee National”, Capitol Building Tallahassee, FL
Strawberry Hill Gallery, U.S. Garage, Sarasota, FL
1985 New College Gallery: U.S.F./ New College, Sarasota, FL
Young Experimental Photographers”, Jacksonville Art Museum,
Jacksonville, FL
1984 New College Gallery: U.S.F./New College Sarasota, FL
1983 “What Artists Have To Say About Nuclear War
Nexus Contemporary Art Center Atlanta, GA

education

1980-82 University of Florida, M.F.A., Gainesville, FL
1978-79 Rochester Institute of Technology, B.F.A., Rochester, NY
1977-78 Salzburg College, Salzburg, Austria
1975-77 Rochester Institute of Technology, A.A.S., Rochester, NY