Colors Dance in Time

Momilani Ramstrum

Encinitas City Hall, Solo Show

January 18, 2017 – March 9, 2017

505 N. Vulcan Ave, Encinitas, CA


About the Artist: As an artist Momilani Ramstrumuses intuition, inspiration, discipline, dance and play. In each painting, she strives for exquisite detail and diverse textures as well as a compelling sense of movement through the piece as a whole. Her visual art is influenced by musical improvisation, with the interplay of lines creating dissonance and resolving into consonance. She creates layered surfaces, enlivened by contrasting sections, and varied forms. Her use of color is bold with entwined splashes, twists of energy and complementary contours.   She draws inspiration from her photography of nature, the desert, trees and plants and the vibrant interplay of shape and light. Her paintings are created through a process of internal dialogue with the painting – she watches the play of colors and shapes, sometimes for hours. Layers are begun, and a painting allowed to form itself over weeks or months of reflection.


After the painting is complete she uses the paintings as the raw materials for further artistic explorations. She photographs sections of the paintings, enlarges them, prints on canvas, and then paints more layers on top. She also takes the images and uses them in interactive performances for vocal improvisation and animated visual art. In these performances dramatic vocalizations with multilayered chanting, wordless melismas, long tones, and melodic lines are created by the singer, as she uses a MIDI glove (that she designed and created using embedded sensors) to trigger the computer to record and loop up to 12 tracks in real time. The computer then uses components of the sounds such as attack, pitch, and dynamics to trigger changes in the visual art, which are images of her paintings.


Artist Biography: Momilani Ramstrum has painted and done visual art since she was a child. She has a Ph.D. in electronic music and performs unique improvisations using voice interacting with a MIDI glove controlled computer. As a composer and inventor, Momilani holds a patent for her MIDI glove which she created to control the computer in real-time. She performs and gives presentations at seminars, festivals and conferences in San Diego, San Francisco, Missouri, New York, Hawaii, Singapore, Taiwan, China, Russia and Japan. Her art is held by collectors in San Diego, Los Angeles, New York, Baltimore, and Japan.

The Exhibit: Colors Dance in Time: Momilani Ramstrum is inspired by nature, musical improvisation, and the desert. All pigments are watercolor with mixed media, which are combined to produce a very non-watercolor mode of presentation. She is an ecological painter and often reuses found items such as dried paint, sand, glue, string, wire and plant husks. She throws these materials on the canvas, adds pigment and watches the dance begin. Her art has evolved over the years as she has gained more trust in the process of creation as a way of knowing and being herself. As she creates, she gets a better grasp of materials and stronger understanding of the paintings as unique beings in the world. Can art help us to illuminate the present, look at ourselves and see the path through the woods?


Artist Statement: “I use watercolors because of their malleable nature. They are never set, but continue, over time to develop. As a way of being in the world, my use of watercolors mimics how I see my life with others. Though each is alone, we interact and draw colors as we approach and leave one another. I don’t paint with black, but prefer the boldness and gentleness of mixing colors. Much of my time painting is simply observing how the paint behaves and my responses to it. I dislike discarding paint; so I reuse bits of paint from the floor, the drop cloth, or dried in the paint bucket. Painting is a solitary activity; through which I discover how to accept myself and others, as necessary to a more nuanced, kinder and deeper existence in the world.”