In Ramiro Gomez's paintings and installations, faceless labourers appear in the luxurious interiors and properties that they maintain and are yet excluded from. By bringing attention to the marginalised workforce of Los Angeles, Gomez examines the broader social discourses surrounding immigration, class, and representation in the contemporary United States.Read More
Ramiro Gomez's 'Magazine' series involves inserting Latinx workers into magazine advertisements of luxury items. Olympia et Janus et Cie (2013), for example, shows a cleaner with a bucket of cleaning supplies at her feet reclining on a high-end pool lounger, her pose a reference to Edouard Manet's Olympia (1863). Energy and Soul (2015) captures another worker in action, sweeping the floor of a spotless interior.
The 'Magazine' paintings originated in the artist's experiences as a nanny between 2009 and 2011. While living in the Hollywood Hills home of his employees, Gomez began to realise that the largely Latinx domestic workers, who reminded him of his own working-class family, were virtually absent from representations of affluent neighbourhoods in the media. In an interview with Los Angeles Magazine in 2019, the artist said 'it felt so disconnected, the culture not representing the very people that I saw.'
Gomez brings his figures outside with cardboard cut-outs installed on the streets of Beverly Hills and West Hollywood. The artist has collaborated with his partner the filmmaker David Feldman to document these installations as photographs and films, including Las Meninas, North Fairing Road, Bel Air, 2013 (2018), which reproduced the young princess from Baroque painter Diego Velázquez's Las Meninas (1656), now flanked by workers in T-shirts and jeans instead of her ladies-in-waiting.
Ramiro Gomez began to gain critical attention with Domestic Scenes (2014): his first exhibition at Charlie James Gallery in Los Angeles. The show featured his renditions of iconic David Hockney paintings. No Splash (2013), for example, recreates the spacious swimming pool and Californian light in A Bigger Splash (1967), except the implied presence of Hockney's diver has been replaced by two starkly visible maintenance workers.
On the relationship between the works of Ramiro Gomez and David Hockney, in a 2015 article for The New York Times Magazine, Lawrence Weschler remarked that Gomez's paintings unveiled the invisible in the same way Hockney's depictions of Los Angeles did in the 1960s, portraying the overlooked 'as if for the first time'.
Here, For a Moment (2019), Gomez's solo exhibition at Charlie James Gallery, brought together a range of the artist's works. Sometimes I Daydream of Flying Away depicts a gardener wearing artificial wings that enable him to rise from the lawn and join the birds around him. In 2020, Gomez's On 3rd Street (2020) was featured in Ocula Art Advisory's selections of Art Basel's OVR:2020.
2020 Vision, Southampton Arts Center, New York (2020); Alien vs. Citizen, Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago (2020); Sorry for the Mess, Marjorie Barrick Museum of Art, Las Vegas (2019); Sweat of Their Brow, National Portrait Gallery, Washington, D.C. (2017); Mi Tierra: Contemporary Artists Explore Place, Denver Art Museum, Colorado (2017).
Sherry Paik | Ocula | 2020
See eight of the most collectible art works made during a hard but historic year.
Members of The Art Dealers Association of America (ADAA) joined forces for The Art Show at the end of February (27 February–1 March 2020). The 2020 iteration saw more than half of its presentations dedicated to a single artist and 19 exhibitions focused on female artists, in addition to vibrant thematic and group surveys.
As Hockney's cool pool dive goes for £23m, we meet Ramiro Gomez, the Mexican-American putting labourers, security guards, removal men and more back into the picture.