about the exhibition
San Antonio, TX
January 14–April 04, 1999about the artist
Chuck Ramirez was born in 1962 in San Antonio, TX where he continues to live and work. With a background in graphic design, Ramirez balances careers in the commercial and fine arts. Since the mid-1990s, Ramirez has shown in a range of venues in Texas, including San Antonio’s Sala Diaz, San Angel, Blue Star Art Space and House Space. He was included in UTSA’s Synthesis and Subversion-A Latino Direction in San Antonio Art, Boy’s Toys at the Arlington Museum of Art, Revelations at the Dallas Visual Art Center and Tres Proyectos Latinos: Memory Frames at the Austin Museum of Art.
As an artist who is also a graphic designer, Ramirez processes and deconstructs the media world in which he lives. His work employs visual and conceptual techniques that are found in contemporary advertising and package design. Using typography and digital imaging technology, Ramirez isolates and recontextualizes familiar objects and texts to explore issues that are both personal and socio-political, always with a witty sense of humor. Earlier work has investigated the complexity of Latino identity and visibility, queer politics and the AIDS crisis.
Ramirez’s work is particularly effective in its synthesis of personal history and narrative with pressing social issues. Drawing from personal and popular imagery—his grandmother’s kitchen, his artist friends, and Brady Bunch graphics—he uses the familiar to explore how social issues impact his individual life. His formal devices are contemporary in style—offering a reading of the dominance of media imagery and advertising—and graphic in their isolation of images, assemblage of objects and use of bold colors.
about the exhibition
Since the AIDS crisis began over fifteen years ago, artists have responded overwhelmingly to this disease. The graphic activist works of the collective Gran Fury, the narrative assemblages of David Wojnarowicz and the meditative installations of Felix Gonzalez-Torres have placed AIDS into a cultural and visual context. At ArtPace, Ramirez continues this trajectory of art history in an installation of digitally enhanced photographic works, entitled Long Term Survivor. The individual pieces explore the rituals of sustaining life and desire in the context of the AIDS crisis. Images range from abstractions of erotic toys to day-of-the-week pill boxes to leather chaps. Ramirez also presents a video piece on three monitors that display a spinning chrome ring—a seductive form that recalls corporate logos—against a bright red wall. Working with materials and images that are part of his daily life—a life impacted by the AIDS crisis—Ramirez transforms the language and power of advertising into a call for action and compassion, expression and self-actualization.
Previous Artpace Exhibitions
Mar 14, 2002 Chuck Ramirez