White Columns is pleased to present a solo exhibition in our Project space by the Oakland-based artist Aurie Ramirez. This is Ramirez’s second exhibition at White Columns – following her widely celebrated debut in 2005.
Since the early 1980s, Ramirez has worked at the Creative Growth Art Center in Oakland, CA. Creative Growth is a world-renowned workshop and art studio for adult artists with mental and developmental disabilities. (Aurie has a condition that shares many characteristics with autism). Since 2005 White Columns has collaborated on a series of exhibitions by artists affiliated with Creative Growth, including solo exhibitions by Ramirez, William Scott, Dan Miller, Judith Scott, and David Albertsen. Additionally we have shown work by these and other Creative Growth-affiliated artists in exhibitions and projects in Philadelphia, Miami, Los Angeles, Oakland, Portland, Berlin, and at other venues in New York.
For her current exhibition Ramirez is presenting a discrete group of watercolor on paper works from c. 2001 that mostly focus on food stuffs and their consumption. Writing in 2005 on the occasion of Ramirez’s original show at White Columns, critic Roberta Smith wrote: “Ms. Ramirez makes extraordinary watercolors that delineate a stage-set universe … There are signs of violence, frequent indications of romance, sex and family dysfunction.” Critic David Valesco, writing in Art Papers, suggested that: “Aurie Ramirez has created a world as layered as the faces she conjures, as inscrutable as the expressions beneath her masks.”
Over the past twenty five years Ramirez has created one of the most idiosyncratic and extraordinary bodies of work – invariably watercolor drawings on paper – that echoes the visionary production of Henry Darger. (Both artists have created psychologically complex imaginary realms inhabited by a recurring cast of characters, scenarios, and narratives). Aurie's earliest work was inspired by her interest in manifestations of the popular gothic, e.g. the Adams Family, or the rock band Kiss; more recently her work has evolved to describe a paradoxical late–nineteenth century, quasi-Victorian, suburban milieu populated by androgynous, mask-wearing dandies or rainbow-hued waifs.
Aurie Ramirez (b.1962) lives and works in Oakland, California. Her work has been included in exhibitions at the Creative Growth Gallery, Oakland; Southern Exposure, and the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (both San Francisco); as well as in exhibitions at Jack Hanley Gallery, Los Angeles; Gavin Brown’s enterprise, New York; Confort Moderne, Poitiers, France; Galerie Susanne Zander, Cologne; Villa Merkel, Esslingen, Germany, among others. Her work is currently on view in the exhibition ‘Create’ (co-curated by Larry Rinder and Matthew Higgs) at the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, Berkeley, CA.