Mel Ramos made hyperrealistic paintings , but if i had to decide what kind of artist he was , i would rather say he was first and foremost a Pop Art artist.
Ramos is best known for his paintings of superheroes and voluptuous female nudes emerging from cornstalks or Chiquita bananas, popping up from candy wrappers or lounging in martini glasses.
Ramos was among the first wave of Pop Art artists who gained recognition for their art. His art was hidden for a long time for us dutch. No publications were available and the nude paintings/illustrations we had in magazines over here were practically all done by Alberto Vargas, the famous Playboy illustrator, but none by Mel Ramos
Ramos received his first important recognition in the early 1960s; since 1959 he has participated in more than 120 group shows. Along with Roy Lichtenstein and Andy Warhol, he was one of the first artists to do paintings of images from comic books, and works of the three were exhibited together at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in 1963. Along with Claes Oldenburg, James Rosenquist, Tom Wesselman and Wayne Thiebaud, Ramos produced art works that celebrated aspects of popular culture as represented in mass media. His paintings have been shown in major exhibitions of Pop art in the U.S. and in Europe, and reproduced in books, catalogs, and periodicals throughout the world.
PS. i started to write this blog knowing for sure i had a great publication on Ramos in my stock, but unfortunately it was sold some years ago and it is not available any longer at www.ftn-books.com
The Oval shape is the less common shape among constructivist, but is was at one time used by some great names in art. Piet Mondriaan used it and also Roy Lichtenstein was a fan and used the shape in his Mirror paintings. Put them beside each other and you will notice similarities between the two. Not only the shape , but also how the space is filled with the composition. I noticed this because a few weeks ago i went to an auction viewing and found the drawings by Henk de Looper for auction. All oval shaped and they really fascinated me.
Here is some information on this forgotten artist who deserves better and is represented by gallery PHOEBUS in Rotterdam.
Arguably the most iconic Pop Art artist was Roy Lichtenstein. I know for certain that Andy Warhol is a much more household and famous name. But when you ask me , which artist i associate with Pop Art , …..it is definitely Roy Lichtenstein. I love comics and because of that, Lichtenstein was one of the first modern artists i began to follow and appreciate. His works with enlarged comic frames won me over for him and it happened that these frames , enlarged to an immense sized canvas, became the works for which Lichtenstein would become famous. There is one multi panelled work “As I opened Fire” which is in the collection of the Stedelijk Museum which i now must have seen dozens of times and it never stops impressing me.
Lichtenstein name is now one of the great names in Modern Art, but this has not always been the case. It took some years to become one of the greats , because Warhol was in the centre of the modern art world and Lichtenstein just a mere satellite. For me however, Lichtenstein is the artist that never disappoints and is the best Pop Art artist….period.
Pop artist John Wesley is one of the lesser known Pop Art artist for us Europeans. There was of course this great 1993 exhibition in the Stedelijk Museum, but since few other exhibitions were being held in this part of the world. Still, Wesley is a much more famous in the US, but has never reached the popularity of the other Pop art artist like Warhol and Lichtenstein.
The spareness of his technique often seems more akin to the school known as Minimalism, however, and indeed his closest personal associations were with artists such as Dan Flavin and Donald Judd, the latter of whom wrote a laudatory essay on Wesley’s early work and later set aside a space for him at his complex in Marfa, Texas. Wesley himself considers his work to be aligned with Surrealism, and many of his paintings since the 1960s have taken this dimension yet further, while retaining an extremely limited range of colors and a sign-like flatness. Several retrospectives of his work have been held, the most recent at the P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center in 2000, but since it is quiet except for some gallery presentations. This artist deserves much more , because his works really stand out from the other Pop Art artist and have a quality of their own. www.ftn-books.com has beside some very nice Pop art books, the famous and rare Stedelijk Museum catalogue from 1993 available.
John Wesdley is represented by the David Kordansky gallery who has some nice examples of his works on their site :
Artist/ Author: Oliver Boberg
Title : Memorial
Publisher: Oliver Boberg
Measurements: Frame measures 51 x 42 cm. original C print is 35 x 25 cm.
signed by Oliver Boberg in pen and numbered 14/20 from an edition of 20