Thursday, March 11, 2010

San Francisco: Ramos and Nagel!

I am just back from the bay area again, and was lucky enough to attend two openings. The first was a Mel Ramos show at Modernism, and it was very exciting! I am a fan of Mel's work, and was delighted to see so many of his paintings up close. He has also added sculptures to his repertoire, and although I liked them, I preferred the smaller ones to the large ones. They are made of resin, and are "fashioned after" certain paintings of his. The thing about Mel Ramos, to me, is that he has a place in history as an acclaimed painter, and you can definitely spot a work by him. (My favorite work of his is from the 1960s.)

A few years ago at a Gottfried Helnwein show at Modernism, I was seated next to Mel at the dinner following the show, and I got to delve into his mind a little, about his painting career. He said that in the 60's and 70's women picketed his shows and demanded that he stop "objectifying women". He thought it would be much easier for me, being female, to paint nude women. I also asked him about some of the lawsuits he was involved in, and he said that he won all of them. I think it was 7UP that said he could use their image, but they got some prints of the painting as compensation. (There definitely needs to be a new book on Mel, with more recent paintings, and details of his experiences in the art world.)

Even at this show, he had placed the heads of Scarlet Johansen, Nicole Kidman, Jenifer Aniston, and Drew Barrymore, on nude figures. I'm not sure how he "gets away" with it, but he does. (Pamela Anderson commissioned Mel to paint a nude of her.) All in all it was a very nice evening!

The next show we went to was Aaron Nagel's. His show was at The Shooting Gallery, which is a newer gallery that shows the work of younger, very talented artists. Aaron also paints nudes, but he adds some text behind them, and in this show, he also incorporates arrows. One of the things I find truly amazing, and interesting, is his use of paint on the model's hands, and even on one face. I also enjoyed the brushstrokes and texture of the paintings. The paintings were amazing, and Aaron was very nice and pleasant!


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