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2021-24 | Cambrian

Against all odds life on Earth has withstood an unrelenting tide of cataclysms and mass extinctions. At the core of life’s story is the great unifying and mysterious urge to survive. It is a lineage of hope that spans eons. I am deeply inspired by the story of life and how we retrieve it through the study of fossils. The title of this series references the Cambrian explosion, a time in history when complex life forms began to radiate rapidly. In this series the subject matter of my work went through a rapid expansion. I moved away from portraits and figurative images made from photographic references. Instead, each new drawing or painting began as a primordial soup from which a living event could emerge. I would start by laying out the medium, either charcoal or paint, in an intuitive way. I cannot explain in any exact way how the location, size, or direction of the initial marks would come about. It was somewhere between chance and a subconscious stream. There was a pivotal moment in each event when I spotted a glimpse of life in the slurry. I would then consciously work to define the edges of the event until it fully materialized out of the ooze.

In cases where a work did not perfectly fit the themes of a series, I placed that work according to date. I placed these less related works at the bottom of the page.

Franklin Ratliff, minor event in loop, 2024, oil on canvas, 16"x12"

minor event in loop, 2024, oil on canvas, 16"x12"

Franklin Ratliff, minor event with ossified anomaly, 2023, acrylic on plastic, 9"x7"

minor event with ossified anomaly, 2023, acrylic on plastic, 9"x7"

Franklin Ratliff, minor event with corded anomaly, 2023, acrylic on plastic, 9"x7"

minor event with corded anomaly, 2023, acrylic on plastic, 9"x7"

Franklin Ratliff, minor event of disappointment, 2023, acrylic on plastic, 9"x7"

minor event of disappointment, 2023, acrylic on plastic, 9"x7"

Franklin Ratliff, minor event with fog and light, 2021, acrylic on plastic, 9"x7"

minor event with fog and light, 2021, acrylic on plastic, 9"x7"

Franklin Ratliff, minor event with Gene Wilder, 2021, acrylic on plastic, 9"x7"

minor event with Gene Wilder, 2021, acrylic on plastic, 9"x7"

Franklin Ratliff, minor event with void monkey, 2021, acrylic on plastic, 9"x7"

minor event with void monkey, 2021, acrylic on plastic, 9"x7"

Franklin Ratliff, minor event cutting through fence, 2022, acrylic on plastic, 9"x7"

minor event cutting through fence, 2022, acrylic on plastic, 9"x7"

Franklin Ratliff, minor event with happy demon, 2021, acrylic on plastic, 9"x7"

minor event with happy demon, 2021, acrylic on plastic, 9"x7"

Franklin Ratliff, minor event entangled, 2023, acrylic on plastic, 9"x7"

minor event entangled, 2023, acrylic on plastic, 9"x7"

Franklin Ratliff, minor event in abduction, 2022, acrylic on plastic, 9"x7"

minor event in abduction, 2022, acrylic on plastic, 9"x7"

Franklin Ratliff, minor event in the rain, 2023, acrylic on plastic, 9"x7"

minor event in the rain, 2023, acrylic on plastic, 9"x7"

Franklin Ratliff, minor event with running bird, 2023, acrylic on plastic, 9"x7"

minor event with running bird, 2023, acrylic on plastic, 9"x7"

Franklin Ratliff, minor event with early mechanical life form, 2022, acrylic on plastic, 9"x7"

minor event with early mechanical life form, 2022, acrylic on plastic, 9"x7"

Franklin Ratliff, minor event through grill, 2022, acrylic on plastic, 9"x7"

minor event through grill, 2022, acrylic on plastic, 9"x7"

Franklin Ratliff, minor event through goggles, 2023, acrylic on plastic, 9"x7"

minor event through goggles, 2023, acrylic on plastic, 9"x7"

Franklin Ratliff, minor event with bipeds, 2023, acrylic on plastic, 9"x7"

minor event with bipeds, 2023, acrylic on plastic, 9"x7"

Franklin Ratliff, minor event with cloud cutter, 2023, acrylic on plastic, 9"x7"

minor event with cloud cutter, 2023, acrylic on plastic, 9"x7"

minor event with cobra, 2023, acrylic on plastic, 9"x7"

minor event with cobra, 2023, acrylic on plastic, 9"x7"

Fanklin Ratliff, minor event with pull, 2022, acrylic on plastic, 9"x7"

minor event with pull, 2022, acrylic on plastic, 9"x7"

Franklin Ratliff, minor event in transformation, 2022, acrylic on plastic, 9"x7"

minor event in transformation, 2022, acrylic on plastic, 9"x7"

Franklin Ratliff, minor event partially flayed, 2023, acrylic on plastic, 9"x7"

minor event partially flayed, 2023, acrylic on plastic, 9"x7"

Franklin Ratliff, minor event with ears, 2023, acrylic on plastic, 9"x7"

minor event with ears, 2023, acrylic on plastic, 9"x7"

Franklin Ratliff, minor event with embarrassed crab, 2023, acrylic on plastic, 9"x7"

minor event with embarrassed crab, 2023, acrylic on plastic, 9"x7"

Franklin Ratliff, minor event with expanding form, 2023, acrylic on plastic, 9"x7"

minor event with expanding form, 2023, acrylic on plastic, 9"x7"

Franklin Ratliff, minor event with fenced horns. 2023, acrylic on plastic, 9"x7"

minor event with fenced horns. 2023, acrylic on plastic, 9"x7"

Franklin Ratliff, minor event with flame tickler, 2023, acrylic on plastic, 9"x7"

minor event with flame tickler, 2023, acrylic on plastic, 9"x7"

Franklin Ratliff, minor event with fountainhead, 2023, acrylic on plastic, 9"x7"

minor event with fountainhead, 2023, acrylic on plastic, 9"x7"

Franklin Ratliff, minor event with impolite dinner conversation, 2023, acrylic on plastic, 9"x7"

minor event with impolite dinner conversation, 2023, acrylic on plastic, 9"x7", not available

Franklin Ratliff, minor event with laughing eel, 2022, acrylic on plastic, 9"x7"

minor event with laughing eel, 2022, acrylic on plastic, 9"x7"

Franklin Ratliff, minor event with match head, 2023, acrylic on plastic, 9"x7"

minor event with match head, 2023, acrylic on plastic, 9"x7"

Franklin Ratliff, minor event with misty eyes, 2023, acrylic on plastic, 9"x7"

minor event with misty eyes, 2023, acrylic on plastic, 9"x7"

Franklin Ratliff, minor event with noses, 2021, acrylic on plastic, 9"x7"

minor event with noses, 2021, acrylic on plastic, 9"x7"

Franklin Ratliff, minor event with slick fur, 2024, acrylic on plastic, 9"x7"

minor event with slick fur, 2024, acrylic on plastic, 9"x7"

Franklin Ratliff, minor event with slug, 2022, acrylic on plastic, 9"x7"

minor event with slug, 2022, acrylic on plastic, 9"x7", not available

Franklin Ratliff, minor event with winged eyes, 2023, acrylic on plastic, 9"x7"

minor event with winged eyes, 2023, acrylic on plastic, 9"x7"

Franklin Ratliff, minor event with wolf, 2023, acrylic on plastic, 9"x7"

minor event with wolf, 2023, acrylic on plastic, 9"x7"

Franklin Ratliff, minor event with spoon and fur in flames, 2022, acrylic on plastic, 9"x7"

minor event with spoon and fur in flames, 2022, acrylic on plastic, 9"x7"

Franklin Ratliff, minor event with wizard, 2022, acrylic on plastic, 9"x7"

minor event with wizard, 2022, acrylic on plastic, 9"x7"

Franklin Ratliff, minor event with ingrown shells, 2024, charcoal on paper, 28"x22"

minor event with ingrown shells, 2024, charcoal on paper, 28"x22"

Franklin Ratliff, minor event ensnared, 2024, charcoal on paper, 12"x9"

minor event ensnared, 2024, charcoal on paper, 12"x9"

Franklin Ratliff, minor event with hunted head, 2024, charcoal on paper, 9"x12"

minor event with hunted head, 2024, charcoal on paper, 9"x12"

Franklin Ratliff, minor event under a rock, 2024, charcoal on paper, 12"x9"

minor event under a rock, 2024, charcoal on paper, 12"x9"

Franklin Ratliff, minor event in Milton's Furnace, 2023, charcoal on paper, 12"x9"

minor event in Milton's Furnace, 2023, charcoal on paper, 12"x9"

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