Gerardo Ramirez was born in Mexico City in 1966. He studied graphic design at the Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana and has worked in advertising as a creative director in Mexico and Germany, learning how to make subtle yet powerful statements. While Ramirez’s work doesn’t borrow directly from the advertising like pop art, it is possible to see the influence and artform of quick ideas and bold statements on the works that engage the viewer in an almost visceral way.
For Ramirez, painting is not about practicing an art form, it is a way of life, of experiencing and understanding the world. The works operate in a world between physical things and ideas, giving tangible form to his experience. The works are abstract, but allow the audience to participate in the visual language by making subtle references that we can collectively appreciate. The vibrant colours from music and urban visuals, the angles of architectural forms or topographies of mapping and landscape all give the audience a sense of something they have seen, heard or felt.
In this manner, he simultaneously strikes a balance between the figurative and the abstract, with a very playful interweaving of painterly techniques. Organic forms and gestural painterly marks are share a very tangible space with geometry and almost mechanical shapes. It feels like a play between the outer world and inner experience, where there is collision of a universal language with something more intuitive and personal. Navigating this field of graphic and painterly processes, Ramirez allows the graphic elements to give a rapid clue of what is happening in the image, without giving too much away. They drive the audience towards an idea while the more fluid and personal touches enter the discourse in a subtle way.
Ramirez’s process is far from mechanical. Like an art director, he interacts with multiple paintings at a time, balancing and playing with ideas, trying to coax an image out of the canvas and express its own potential. The graphic design influences from his studies provide an underpinning maturity to the colours, while the bright colours and boldness are an attempt to compete with the omnipresence and advance of technology and its encroachment on visual culture. This competition never feels desperate, but rather playful and an experience of joy. The work is certainly a meditation on juxtaposition, not in a way to show how one element is better than the other, but to allow the differences to stand out and be celebrated in the way that, musical notes celebrate each other in combination.