Chuck Ramirez: Minimally Baroque
This evening, Ruiz-Healy Art presents a Fotoseptiembre USA exhibition at Blue Star Contemporary Art Center, Chuck Ramirez: Minimally Baroque, curated by noted Latin American art curator Victor Zamudio-Taylor. The reception begins at 6pm at Blue Star.
Minimally Baroque is the first exhibition of Chuck Ramirez’s work since his death, and will showcase some of his most notable photographs, as well as a special display of conceptual works, sketches, and ephemera curated by Henry C. Estrada. A 48-page catalogue featuring more than 100 of the artist’s most iconic artworks will be available for sale at the opening. The exhibit runs through November 6.
Chuck Ramirez (1962-2010) lived and worked as an artist and graphic designer in San Antonio, Texas. Primarily employing large-scale photography, his body of work includes prints and sculptural installations. His pieces are charged with metaphors of ethnicity, gender, sexuality, and religion. His involvement with Artpace dates back to 1999, when he first exhibited in the Hudson (Show)Room. Long-Term Survivor, an installation of digitally enhanced photographs, explored the rituals of sustaining life and desire in the context of the AIDS crisis. Images ranged from abstractions of erotic toys to day-of-the-week pill boxes to leather chaps. Ramirez also presented a video piece on three monitors that displayed a spinning chrome ring—a seductive form that recalls corporate logos—against a bright red wall. Working with materials and images that were part of his daily life—a life impacted by being HIV positive—he transformed the language and power of advertising into a call for action and compassion, expression, and self-actualization.
In 2002 Ramirez was invited by guest curator Jérôme Sans, Co-director of the Palais de Tokyo in Paris, France, to be the Texas representative for the New Works: 02.1 International Artist-in-Residence cycle. For his Artpace residency, he used a commercial studio to produce 17 large-scale photographs of items referencing food. The first series of 12 images consisted of images of raw meat—a whole chicken, sausage links, a beef steak—laid bare on the artist’s signature sterile white background. Two photographs featured empty candy trays that represented unattainable fulfillment and desire. He also displayed two full-frame images of fruit cocktail and green peas. Taken straight from the can, these fruits and vegetables are magnified to epic proportions; the mixed fruit recalling the complexities of multicultural mixing, and the peas signifying the sameness of humankind. A final image of a plastic cup from a fast food restaurant bears the epitaph When I am empty, please dispose of me properly, a somber parallel between life and consumption.
Ramirez’s estate is exclusively represented by Ruiz-Healy Art, and a companion exhibit to Minimally Baroque—including his 2002 Whatacup series and decadent Godiva chocolate trays—can be viewed at the gallery by appointment through October 13. Visit www.ruizhealyart.com or call 210.804.2219.
Image credit: Chuck Ramirez, Godiva 1, 2002