Razzle Dazzle: An act, display or condition of…dazzling excitement or bewilderment
-The American Heritage Dictionary, 2nd Edition, 1982
Immediate, bold and carefree; James Ulmer’s latest group of drawings for his 2014 solo exhibition Razzle Dazzle at Snyderman-Works Galleries are filled with energy. The dizzying mark-making conveys a sense of joy but also of control. Football players, comic book characters, happy faces and other familiar icons are at times assembled in grids; splashed with color, and also drawn as bold singular images. In some instances the figures morph into abstracted patterns: A smiley face becomes part of a larger composition of darks and lights.
While Ulmer’s drawings may evoke memories of childhood innocence, their complexity and precision belie the notions of simplicity or nostalgia. Beautifully and carefully made, they convey both his talents as a draftsman, and his understanding of how to convey emotion.
A Philadelphia native, Ulmer graduated from the University of the Arts in 2005 with a degree in Illustration and Design and was awarded the Thorton Oakly Medal by the Society of Illustrators. Ulmer was a member of the Philadelphia’s legendary Space 1026 Collective from 2008-2011.
Currently living and working in Brooklyn, Ulmer recently had a drawing published in the New York Times. He has exhibited his work in New York, Austin, Texas, and Baltimore, MD.