Thursday, April 21, 2016

Domestic Scenes: The Art of Ramiro Gomez, by Lawrence Weschler

Ramiro Gomez, a young artist in Los Angeles, captures a perspective of LA life in his collage-like art.  Domestic Scenes: The Art of Ramiro Gomez provides examples of his distinctive works, along with commentary by Lawrence Weschler.  Gomez, the son of Mexican immigrants, has worked as a domestic in LA and counts among his friends "the very people who make . . . the look of L.A. possible . . . our fellow humans, who we ordinarily prefer not to see."

Much of his work is homage to the artist David Hockey.  Gomez adds a twist to Hockney's LA imagery by adding cut-outs or painting in the Latino domestic workers, cleaning houses, working in yards, or maintaining swimming pools.  He draws attention to class issues, ironically displaying his pieces for viewing and purchase by wealthy art patrons who employ immigrants as maid, yard workers, and pool cleaners.  Weschler asks Gomez about "possible dissonances in the acquisitional fate of his pieces."  Gomez remarks that he's not throwing rocks, but "softly, quietly, . . . provok[ing] that moment of recognition."

Weschler's text adds much to the context and background of Gomez's work.  He clearly writes as a fan, and Gomez gave him lots of time for interviews and interaction, giving the reader lots of biographical background and insight into influences on Gomez.  Is Gomez's work great art?  I'll leave that to the art experts.  He's clearly striking a chord with many collectors and dealers.  In my humble opinion, the aesthetics take a back seat to the provocation.  That's OK, it's just not work that I would pay big money to put on my walls.  (As if I had big money.  But you know what I mean.)

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the complimentary electronic review copy!

2016 Reading Challenge: A book about art

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