Tuesday, March 12, 2013

How a barren world seeing as reflected by mirrors, fenders, chassis and other shining surfaces, becomes a focal point.

Almost no one walks in Miami. Our car culture turns our daily lives into a boxed-in, tedious morass. The worst part is that our whole public space is subservient to the automobile. Think about it, if we ever walked, would we really look around? Rafael López-Ramos knows. He’s a rare species: A true Miami pedestrian, walking to the bus -or train- stop to go to work.
Urban languor interspersed with Burger Kings, McDonald’s and plenty of used-cars lots with blasting music and garish advertising. Who else would cogitate this daily routine to and from work, as he comes across the flatness of a human-bare, treeless, automobile artery like Le Jeune Road? López-Ramos turns this landscape of kitsch upside-down.
His paintings are like little oases of the banal. Detailed, zoomed in, and magnified, a single focal point reflecting the richness of concomitant spaces. These colorful cityscapes offer something unique to the artist’s eye: A rowdy distortion on a chassis, an optical illusion reflected on a side-mirror, or just a cool play of reflections on a wheel-rim.
This is not your typical realism. You may want the picture to be more detailed. The brushwork more finished. It’s deliberate. Take it as a distorted photo, only repainted. The artist is using a familiar approximation to distort and propagate sense data. And obviously, this is all a work in progress. But let’s take it to the next level.
Imagine how much you could see if your eyes could capture more information, say, X-Rays (or if you had the ability –like bats- to do echolocation). Would your landscape look like a Richard Estes? By mirroring nature, López-Ramos wants you to see more than you see. Reality apparently reflected, but really added to, shortened, zoomed in and spliced. If you think you see it, you missed it. We need a second look and art can always help. And isn’t art a distortion of the physical?

Alfredo Triff

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