NONFICTION

Domestic Scenes: The Art of Ramiro Gomez

Abrams. Apr. 2016. 128p. illus. notes. ISBN 9781419720697. $35; ebk. ISBN 9781613129937. FINE ARTS
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Contemporary Los Angeles painter Ramiro Gomez began to attract attention a few years ago with his arresting pastiches of works by famous artists such as David Hockney, wherein he replaces familiar elements—such as the splash in Hockney's A Bigger Splash—with Latino domestic workers silently toiling. Not yet 30, Gomez has also made a splash of his own with impromptu installations of painted cardboard cutouts depicting faceless gardeners and other laborers tending the hedges and lawns of L.A.'s one-percenters. These painted trompe l'oeil compellingly call attention to the limbolike status of undocumented persons in America, while emphasizing the anonymity and invisibility that cling to them. Other works contain similarly blurred figures inserted into glossy, upscale magazine images: "domestics" who are a part of a family yet fundamentally alienated. On display here is some intensely thoughtful, quietly provocative, and compositionally brilliant art. Former New Yorker writer Weschler (Everything That Rises) introduces Gomez with an engaging account of befriending him and his Jalisco-born parents, and outlining the growth of his sensibility and inspirations going back to the days Gomez himself worked as a nanny for wealthy Anglos.
VERDICT With work that's direct and immediate, Gomez is a young artist to watch, deserving of this appreciation.
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