The artist called ransome

The Lakeville Journal | May 1, 2024

By Alexander Wilburn

If you claim a single sobriquet as your artistic moniker, you’re already in a club with some big names, from Zendaya to Beyoncé to the mysterious Banksy. At Geary, the contemporary art gallery in Millerton founded by New Yorkers Jack Geary and Dolly Bross Geary, a new installation and painting exhibition titled “The Bitter and the Sweet” showcases the work of the artist known only as ransome — all lowercase, like the nom de plume of the late Black American social critic bell hooks.

Currently based in Rhinebeck, N.Y., ransome’s work looks farther South and farther back — to The Great Migration, when Jim Crow laws, racial segregation, and the public violence of lynching paved the way for over six million Black Americans to seek haven in northern cities, particularly New York urban areas, like Brooklyn and Baltimore. The Great Migration took place from the turn of the 20th century up through the 1970s, and ransome’s own life is a reflection of the final wave — born in North Carolina, he found a new home in his youth in New Jersey.