I first came across Mel Ramos’ work at an art fair earlier this year. I had read about him before as a major proponent of the Pop Art movement much like Andy Warhol and seen some photos online but Warhol was my case study at that time.
The two photographs here are very much representative of Ramos’ works in general where he paints female nudes which emerge out of consumer goods or are superimposed on images from mass media. In effect, doing what Andy Warhol described the pop artists as doing, “The Pop artists did images that anybody walking down Broadway could recognize in a split second—comics, picnic tables, men’s trousers, celebrities, shower curtains, refrigerators, coke bottles—all the great modern things that the Abstract Expressionists tried so hard not to notice at all.” Thereby, making a statement about the all pervasive presence of capitalist consumer culture in everyday life (though not necessarily criticizing it).
Ramos has time and again faced the ire of feminist critics for the unabashed way in which he employs the female body as an object of consumption. Also, I believe his assertion that his art is apolitical betrays the political argument which the conjunction of the disparate images from popular culture points at.
Candy II – Snickers, 2004 © Mel Ramos.
Life Savers, 2006 © Mel Ramos.
For those interested, his other woks can be freely viewed online and there are quite a few introductory books on Pop Art in general.