Chris Sharp Gallery debuts a solo exhibition titled “I’ve Been Dreaming’ Too Long” by Los Angeles-based, Mexican-American artist Edgar Ramirez. An opening reception was held on Saturday, June 18, 2022, but you can still view the exhibition through July 23, 2022.
Drawing on his immediate urban environment, certain pockets of art history, and Post-Fordist philosophy, Edgar Ramirez is an atypical painter. The subject matter of his work is inspired by the anonymous signs– We Buy Houses, Fix Your Credit, etc– that parasitically populate low-income neighborhoods all over Los Angeles, as well as America. Appropriating the look and language of these predatory signs, he paints them in a multitude of colors on cardboard and then subjects them to a process of aggressive subtraction which seems to exist somewhere between classical décollage and urban decay. The resultant images are variously reminiscent of Nouveau Realism, the work of Los Angeles native, Mark Bradford and Abstract Expressionism. However, differing from his forebears, the exploitative specificity of the subject matter directly informs the formal decisions that Ramirez makes. The subtractive aspect of the work becomes analogous to the negativity of debt as a positive ontological feature of the contemporary human subject. You are by virtue not of what you have, but by what you don’t have, or rather, owe. By a similar twist of negative logic, these paintings could also be situated within a landscape tradition through their invocation of the harried urban fabric from which they issue. To Clyfford Still’s vast romantic conjurations of the American west, Ramirez responds with a symbolic horizon which is altogether more damaged, anarchic and violent. For all their riotous energy, these paintings respond to a landscape that arguably takes more than it gives. Nevertheless, the palpable texture, richness and color of Ramirez’s paintings are characterized by a strident and explosive beauty, as if in protest, and in spite of everything.
On view: June 18, 2022 – July 23, 2022
What: Opening reception, Edgar Ramirez
Where: Chris Sharp, 4650 W Washington Blvd., LA 90016