Her blue boots tap the worn wood floor, and along the paint scuffed walls are sketches of women. Greta Ramey is an Akron native and a local artist. When she isn’t pouring a warm cup of coffee at Angel Falls, she can be found in her Highland Square studio.
Greta is a figurative and portrait artist; her work is focused on the divine feminine in nature. Through the use of symbolism and traditional oil painting she describes the connectivity between all living things.
“One of my first ways to communicate was through images,” says Greta.
Born and raised in a creative household, Greta spent most of her time drawing, and by the age of ten, art had become her niche. Throughout her childhood, she struggled with dyslexia, which became a barrier to her written expression. It isn’t easy growing up feeling like you’re bad at something, she says, and drawing gave her a solid sense of identity and helped her make sense of her thoughts through visuals.
“I was trying to capture the beauty of the world, and I was having a hard time putting it into words, so I was capturing it in images,” she says.
Because of her Akron roots, Greta has been surrounded by nature her entire life. Her strong connection to the environment has been fostered by living in Northeast Ohio. The Cuyahoga Valley National Park easily became a meditative, safe haven. We have so much nature to be surrounded by if we choose to indulge, she says.
Environmental influences are prevalent in her paintings. In her recent work, she explores the link between human figure, nature, animals and humanity. Women have historically symbolized nature, and that’s a theme that resonates with Greta.
“It represents my own psychology and self,” she says. “These are quiet places for me, even though it’s not my figure I am presenting.”
Greta’s representation of women evolves just as she does throughout her life. She reflects on her past work and notices her art grow and strengthen over the years. Like a mirror, her work is a reflection of herself.
Other influences derive from the ‘30s and early ‘40s artwork. Between the world wars, artists reflected the current political and economical climate through their medium, says Greta.
They were capturing the essence of a moment in history as they experienced it. One of the most important parts of humanity is art—it’s what lasts. Greta wonders where she fits into that scheme.
“How is humanity preserved? It is in the literature that’s written and the artwork that is made,” she says.
Jim Remington, a late friend of Greta’s, believed “all artworks are time capsules.” Jim was a woodworker and abstract artist that she met at Angel Falls. He spent his entire life working on art. Every single day he created something, and Greta says that’s her “life goal in a nutshell.”
“Even though you don’t see interaction between canvas and artists, that interaction is a very intimate moment,” Greta says. “The energy of that moment is captured by the painting.”
Greta is an artist compelled by the craft of her work. She’s drawn to her art in an almost spiritual sense. Her paintings are offerings to the world, and they invite the viewer into a piece of her human experience.
“Artwork is a gift, it is an invitation,” she says. “Art is something that goes beyond words.”