Mel Ramos (1935-2018)
Mel Ramos (actually Melvin John Ramos) was born in Sacramento, California on July 24, 1935. In 1954 he begins to study art and art history at the Junior College. A year later he changes to the Sacramento State College where his teacher Wayne Thiebaud has decisive influence on him. Just as his teacher, Mel Ramos picks up the style of Pop-Art, in his first paintings he depicts super heroes from comic strips.
After participating in the exhibition "Pop Goes the East" at the Contemporary Art Museum in Houston in 1963, the artist established himself as one of the main representatives of Pop Art beside Warhol, Lichtenstein and Rosenquist with the first exhibition of his own at Bianchini Gallery in New York the following year.
In the mid-sixties, Mel Ramos turned to the depiction of single female figures. Pin-up girls from advertisements and magazines are draped over painted commercial articles to parody the trivial and glamorous gestures of the advertising industry. A solo exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in San Francisco took place in 1967. In 1972, the artist presented his work at the Utah Museum of Fine Arts in Salt Lake City, followed by the exhibition "Pop Art" at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York in 1974. In 1977 Ramos had a retrospective at the Oakland Museum of California.
In 1980 he took up a chair at California State University in Hayward. At this point the painter became interested in self portraits and landscape painting. In 1986 Ramos received the National Endowment for the Arts Visual Artists Fellowship Grant. In that year he participated in an exchange of scholarship holders between America and France, followed by travels to Sicily and Tenerife in 1987 and 1991. Since 1992 the artist has lived and worked in California and Spain. Ramos' comments about his art are succinct: " I make sure that my pictures are not too erotic and that they always have a trace of humor. I make sure they are ‘in good taste.’ Either you understand it or not."
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