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Paul Henry Ramirez (American, born 1963)
Paul Henry Ramirez: Untitled Liquid Squeeze.jpg

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Untitled (Liquid Squeeze series)
, 1996
Acrylic on canvas, 42 x 42 inches
Courtesy Caren Golden Fine Art, New York

 

Texas-born Ramirez attended the University of Texas in El Paso and Raritan Valley College in New Jersey. Now Brooklyn-based, he has been exhibiting since 1993 and has galleries in New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. In paintings and installations he investigates the relationship between the organic, biomorphic, living and the geometric, rigid, architectural. The dialogue between them creates a tension, which brings the work alive. Sometimes the paintings just seem to spill over onto the wall; at others the whole room is involved. For the Pop Surrealism exhibition at The Aldrich Museum in Connecticut in 1998, his luscious, pink, and bouncy lifeforms spread out all over the three story atrium. The artist says he "uses a vocabulary of sensual images to highlight the comedy of our bodily functions."

 

Paul Henry Ramirez paints highly sexualized imagery in so generalized a manner and such candy-like colors that he can almost get away with titling one of his exhibitions Real Pretty Simple Innocent. But a close up look at the details reveal constant interpenetrations of phallic forms, hairy clusters, spurting droplets, buttocks and breasts. Nipples can turn into Art Nouveau-like decorative devices, even architectural details, before your eyes. The white space of the canvas is fully activated by his controlled shaping of positive and negative space. While pink often predominates, in the untitled canvas from his 1996 Liquid Squeeze series, red, navy, and gray far outweigh the pinks and yellows. Miro is often mentioned in analyses of Ramirez's work, but Duchamp is also brought to mind by the rectilinear architectural elements that, however finely wrought, stablize the pulsating, slurping, bouncing, nudging, penetrating, and intertwining forms all around. Unlike Monique Prieto's forms, which seem figural, Ramirez's imagery has a cartoon quality without conjuring up cartoon characters in action. It is rather like seeing the consequences of actions such as spilling, melting, bubbling, or bursting.


This exhibition is made possible by the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs


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