This is the life / These are the real things
Cella Gallery is pleased to present the incredible photo realistic paintings of Jeff Ramirez.
Jeff Ramirez was born and raised in Oxnard, CA and received his BFA from the University of California, Santa Cruz.
Jeff’s paintings almost always evoke the same jaw-dropping reaction followed by the utterance: “this has to be a photograph”. A relative newcomer to the fine art world, Jeff’s technical skill and mastery of photo-realistic painting along with his unique and often humorous take on the art of portraiture, has already garnered him much praise and attention on numerous art blogs and websites. In Los Angeles his paintings have been shown in a handful of themed group shows, including last year’s Crazy 4 Cult 2 at Gallery 1988, where Jeff’s four small paintings of Arnold Schwarzenegger quickly sold and later made into limited edition prints. This is Jeff’s first solo exhibition with Cella Gallery.
"I have always felt like I was living between two worlds. In each, I was a different person, always hyper-aware of my surroundings. Every gesture amounted to a self-conscious performance. In images, I felt improperly represented. I grew to disassociate with my own reflection in imagery and thus became skeptical of the images of others.
Every day I take in countless pictures, many of which encourage me not to ask questions, but rather to just accept their truths. While they may appear to be candid, they are capturing both pose and performance. I am compelled to create images using others as props, stand-ins and doubles for myself. While typical portrait subjects want to demonstrate their power and import, the subjects in my paintings are isolated and aware that they are being watched. They are barely there, reduced by the act of creation.
The series of small paintings are styled after paparazzi images and photographs commonly found on social networking sites. The voluminous production of such images allows for banality and loss of context. Rendered in a photo-realistic style, these paintings receive a physical presence that gives weight to the images. They act as anti-portraits that reduce an experience to a singular expression of denial. The pose of the subject is a response to being identified and singled out by the creator for the benefit of the viewer.
In the large paintings, the same ideas have been extended to the more straightforward traditional full portrait. In this style, the images are more claustrophobic and confined and so are the subjects. They exist in spaces bound by limitations with no possibility of autonomy. In order to maintain the narrative constriction, the paintings required additional elements, surrealist textures and coverings still rendered in the photo-realist style. These impositions of the creator generate tension while making a traditional format more open to interpretation. These subjects are trapped in a moment and are vulnerable to projection. They sit, isolated in pure emotion and expressions of grief, fear or angst."
Also showing in the Upstairs Gallery
The Collaborative Works of
Stephan Canthal and Patrick Haemmerlein
Stephan Canthal and Patrick Haemmerlein have been exhibiting together in the same group shows around Los Angeles for over two years. In that time, they began to realize that their work attracted similar clients, which makes sense. Both artists work with photography, both work with images that explore the city and nature and both developed there own alternative process for creating and displaying their works. The idea to collaborate on a project grew from a genuine interest in each others art and the desire to create something new and different. What both artists quickly discovered was that the collaborative effort not only greatly influenced their individual projects, but also influenced their overall ideas about creating, showing and selling art. The resulting artwork is exciting, edgy and unique. It is a successful marriage of different styles, mediums and techniques.