Aesthetics and Agency: A Disabled Narrative by Kinsey Ratzman ’17 will be on display in Walton Center Gallery now through Monday, November 13, 2023.
Born in Trenton, Kinsey has lived in New Jersey their entire life, and recently graduated from Mount Holyoke College. With a double major in Studio Art and Politics with a Nexus certificate in Media & Journalism, Kinsey received cum laude and honors distinctions for their thesis, Disability Aesthetics and Agency in Portraiture. As a disabled lesbian, Kinsey weaves in themes of identity, community, and politics into their pieces, as seen with their thesis. Vibrant, intentional colors and linework are a major component of their pieces, and play into conceptual elements as well with ideas of autonomy, choice, and self-representation with their portrait subjects.
“In Aesthetics and Agency: A Disabled Narrative, I create portraits of other disabled and queer people I am in community with. In this series, I explore how to navigate the representation of disabled people in portraiture by questioning different historical and modern forms of disability aesthetics in art and media,” said Kinsey. “By prioritizing the subject’s role in the creation of their portraits as one of the core elements of my practice, I attempt to mitigate the dilemma of determining how to best depict and represent disabled people authentically while avoiding harmful and ableist tropes. I am inspired both by portraitists such as Riva Lehrer, Alice Neel, and Clarity Haynes, along with other disability justice activists, scholars, and artists who have influenced stylistic and conceptual aspects of this series, and by extension, its accompanying zine.”
While Kinsey primarily paints portraits with acrylics on larger-scale canvases, they also incorporate alcohol-based markers, ink pens, colored pencils, watercolors, and gouache into their artwork. Digital art continues to be a component of their practice, primarily in the sketchbook stages of their work, but also with completed works of art as well. Learn more about Kinsey’s artwork here.
There will be a gallery talk and reception on Tuesday, October 3 at 11:30 a.m. in Walton Center Gallery. Kinsey will be joining the gallery talk virtually. All are welcome! View the full Arts Calendar here.