Ralph Lazar: Mr.Post an Event »

Ralph Lazar: Mr. Ralph Lazar, Lyle / Guardians of Humanity, 2015-2017, paint on hardboard, dimensions variable, 3-7 feet

Ralph Lazar's work reflects on current events and contemporary life. Roll Up Project is pleased to display two works: “Lyle / Guardians of Humanity,” and “Reconstitution.” “Reconstitution” takes inspiration from the U.S. election and its rippling effects. The piece pulls the 4,543 words of the US Constitution into individual bubbles, which are randomly ordered on two panels. Finding meaning in the words is an enduring challenge that all citizens face, and politics may shape or be shaped by this enduring text. Lazar gives the viewer room to interpret the text and imagine a meaning that may represent the Americans of today. In his words: “Whose interpretation of these words will prevail? The NRA or The Sierra Club? Hamilton or Madison? We the People or the 1%? Or my own - an artist reinventing the Constitution as Art.” “Lyle / Guardians of Humanity” is featured in the main Roll Up Project window. Several black and white figures shaped like bell jars, ranging in scale from three to seven feet tall, peer out at the viewer with wide eyes and toothy smiles. Lazar describes the Lyles as Panglossian figures, hopelessly optimistic despite the circumstances. In 2015, Lazar started creating these sculptures as cheerful companions. Lately, he considers them Guardians of Humanity, reminding the viewer that decency still exists, but needs to be protected. Born in Johannesburg, Ralph Lazar studied law & economics at the University of Cape Town and the London School of Economics. After graduation he joined the Global Strategy team at Goldman Sachs in London. He later joined CSFB’s proprietary bond-trading team. With a focus on monetary and exchange rate policy, he visited 36 countries in this role. After 6 years in financial markets, along with his artist wife-to-be Lisa Swerling, he moved to Ile au Cerf in the Seychelles (population of 52) where they started their illustration licensing business Last Lemon. Through Last Lemon they have sold more than a million books in over 20 languages and have garnered a plethora of prizes and accolades, including a New York Times Bestseller. He now lives in Marin with Lisa and his children. He has also lived in Nice, Buenos Aires, Paris, Moscow and Oxford. Roll Up Project is a new window gallery located in Oakland’s Jack London district. It provides a non-commercial venue for emerging and established Bay Area artists to display work. The Project consists of display areas on two sides of the building: a jewelbox window behind a roll up truck door at 217 Harrison Street, and a set of paned windows around the corner at 307 Third Street. The roll up door is viewable on weekdays from 10 to 5, and the windows are visible 24/7.