Fine art with a foot in comics, Luke Ramsey’s obsessive drawings resemble the work of Keith Haring, if Haring hadn’t known when to stop adding. Bubble-like figures fill each other’s crevices, everything fitting together like a fancy jigsaw puzzle. Ramsey’s Intelligent Sentient?, out this year from Drawn & Quarterly, highlights the narrative dimension of his drawings by putting them in sequence, allowing readers to create their own plot from the profusion of visual elements.Hillary Brown
Delicate, complex drawings tell of a science-fiction world
Intelligent Sentient? feels like an artifact from another time—a lost feature in OMNI magazine or the album booklet for a late-1970s Hawkwind record or perhaps a print version of Koyaanisqatsi. Beautiful, detailed filigreed drawings fold in on themselves and blossom out at the reader as time speeds up and contracts. A loose story is told that involves a society of giant people, strange art, and inexplicable scientific experiments utilizing nonexistent technology. Factories and tree houses teem with life, and the city nestles up against a landscape filled with dinosaurs, apes, and dragonflies living peacefully side by side.
Intelligent Sentient? is a series of images that are tied together not in narrative but in a progressing theme, the takeaway being that everything is connected. The drawings contain the fine detail of a watchmaker and the visual scope of a social reform muralist. This book is meant to be read forward and backward and returned to and treated like a mystical text.