I loved Columbia. I had just graduated from Wellesley College where I felt cloistered and isolated. NYC was a playground and I loved the street life. I met and learned from artists inside the MFA program and elsewhere.
I met regularly with visiting artist Richard Pousette Dart who would buy me breakfast. He insisted that I throw away my ruler. "There are no straight lines in nature," he said. My paintings were geometric - architectural maps. "Perhaps I have made a great contact in the art world, "I said to myself. A few years later, when I was a partner a large art shipping company, Richard called me to ask me to give his son a job as an art mover. I did.
During my two years at Columbia I worked for Michelle Stuart as a studio assistant. Michelle taught me how to live cheaply and work, work, work. Michelle also gave me permission not to paint if I didn't want to - both were Invaluable lessons. Michelle lived in the same building as Joyce and Max Kozloff. This was the mid 70's with new feminist art coming on. Installation, site specific, and video forms were relatively new.
Although my degree was in painting, I showed photo collage at my thesis show. I remember there was a services strike on campus during the week of the show opening. Weston Naef, the photo curator a the Metropolitan Museum had showed up to see my work. We couldn't get in the building. Ah, another road block in my career.... I was meant to live undiscovered in the back woods of Massachusetts.
While at Columbia I resolved that I would make highly complex work in the manner of the old masters, but in a modern form that could be repeated without losing its integrity. I started working with photo collage and this led me to my current work, which is in fact highly complicated (hundreds of separate photo frames) but reproduces wonderfully.
I have evolved my technique of photo collage considerably since that time. I am now working digitally. However, the images shown here are pieced together manually. Please visit my website: www.amyragus.com.
I'm sure I will be famous when I am dead or when it no longer matters to me. Perhaps I will leave Columbia a few bucks.