Art News

Paintings by Mel Ramos opens at Bernarducci.Meisel.Gallery

artwork: Mel Ramos - "The Artists Studio #1", 1987 - Oil on canvas, 155 x 208 cm. -  ©VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn, 2010.

NEW YORK, NY.- In celebration of the success of Mel Ramos’ 75th birthday retrospective, the Bernarducci.Meisel.Gallery presents selections returning from the recent six-venue European tour. Paintings spanning the 1960s to the present are featured, including highlights from each major series in the artist’s career: the Female Super-Heroines, the Commercial Pin-up images, Beauty & the Beast, Salute to Old Masters, I Still Get a Thrill when I See Bill, the Drawing Lessons and the Galatea series. An artist’s reception will be held on March 10th at which time Ramos will unveil his new light-box prints produced by Galerie Ernst Hilger, Vienna. Paintings and prints alike will feature the beautiful and vivacious Pop-stylized females for which Ramos is renowned. On view 1 March through 31 March.

Drawing upon the pin-up magazines of the fifties and sixties, Mel Ramos contradicts classical notions of female beauty through his playful use of humor. Rather than treating the female nude as an idealized form, Ramos approaches the subject from a Pop sensibility–treating beauty as a product of creation, a false idealized constructed mirror image of perfection. His iconic subjects are derived from both highbrow imagery, as in the case of his reinterpretations of historic artworks, and lowbrow imagery as with his commercial paintings.

Mel Ramos’ artworks pay homage to the very origin of sexual desire, and popularize the female physique through humanization of the female pose and his use of the facial expression. The emotional enticing come hither look, like a seductive siren, is omnipresent in each of his subjects. Featured paintings, “Giant Panda” (1971) and “Lucky Lulu Blonde” (1965), embody these characteristics, playing upon the viewer’s own preconceived notions of beauty, sexuality and the traditional representation of the female form.

artwork: Mel Ramos - "Lucky Lulu Blonde", 1965. Oil on canvas, 48 x 40 in. Photo: Courtesy Bernarducci. Meisel.Gallery.

Mel Ramos, born in 1935, has solidified a place in the history of art alongside the greatest Pop artists of his generation. Raised in California, he received his masters from Sacramento State College in 1958, and has taught at Arizona State University as well as California State University. He has been represented by Louis K. Meisel Gallery since the 1970s, and his work is in the permanent collections of the National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.

Also on view, Ester Curini’s Photorealist paintings capture the innocence and purity of her animal subject. Her technical execution of details, like the precise placement of animal hair and the very nature of her subject’s composition, exemplify her powerful ability to render her animal subject. Curini’s animals engage their subject through their submissive and gentle posture and in turn allow for the portrayal of true reality. Placed against an ethereal white background, her three-dimensional lifelike animals are presented as timeless subjects.

Born in Italy and currently residing in New York City, Curini is represented by Bernarducci.Meisel.Gallery and was coined the “Year’s Best Artist” in the Artist’s Magazine of 2007. She is part of Bernarducci.Meisel’s First Look program, which exhibits new artists to the Gallery’s expanding collector base. She was’s 5th showcase winner in 2011. Her work aims to capture the spirit and emotion of the animal figure.