January 11 - March 8, 2014
Artist's Reception: January 11, 2014, 7-10pm
Show Catalog (pdf, 5.40 Mb)
Domestic Scenes, LA-based artist Ramiro Gomez’s first gallery solo show, unites three series of paintings in a meditation on class, wealth, and the people behind our images of luxury.
The origins of this show are located in the personal history of the artist. Ramiro Gomez was born to immigrant parents in the Inland Empire region of Southern California, east of Los Angeles. After leaving the California Institute of the Arts, Gomez worked as a live-in nanny with a Beverly Hills family, where he keenly observed the relationships between heads of households and their staff. Gomez found the dynamic between family and staff to be paradoxical – at once intimate, trusting and close, but also prone to abrupt dissolution for various reasons. His experiences there were the impetus for the work in Domestic Scenes.
Gomez’s acrylic on canvas paintings use David Hockney’s iconic 60s Southern California scenes as a jumping off point, interrupting the original compositions with the introduction of Latino domestic workers into the works. Hockney’s A Bigger Splash (1967) has been appropriated and executed by Gomez to scale, but the eponymous splash has been substituted for a pool cleaner and a housekeeper set in the background. In similar ways are three other Hockney paintings from period interrupted, showing us what is there but not seen. In the Magazine series, Gomez tears out advertisements from upscale design magazines like Luxe, Dwell, and Architectural Digest, and paints domestic workers into the scenes in ways that leverage the subjects and compositions of the ads. Gardeners at work appear in ads with opulent exteriors; bedroom furniture ads are modified to present nannies and children, many such interventions are explored. The third body of work in the show is the Letters and Instructions series – trompe l’eoil legal paper notes to the staff, executed with acrylic and marker on panel. One piece has a shopping list for ‘Carmen’ (the housekeeper) and a cleaning supplies list for ‘Leticia’. Sundry phone numbers, driving directions, and random notations appear, documenting the preferred method of communication between heads of households and their staff.
Ramiro Gomez was born in 1986 in San Bernardino, CA. In 2013 Gomez had a solo exhibition @ the UCLA Chicano Studies Research Center, and was an artist-in-residence at the CSUF Grand Central Art Center in Santa Ana, CA. Also in 2013, Gomez exhibited at the AFL-CIO National Convention, where he was also a Guest Lecturer. He also gave lectures at Stanford University, UCLA and UC Santa Barbara from 2012-13. The City of West Hollywood, CA awarded Gomez with a residency in 2013, where he installed a mural in West Hollywood Park – a project titled The Caretakers, which remains on view. His work has been covered in the Washington Post, NPR, the Los Angeles Times, Hyperallergic, Huffington Post, and CNN. Gomez lives and works in West Hollywood, CA.