Aurie RamirezMay 6–June 11, 2005 320 West 13th Street
White Columns presents the first ever solo exhibition of the Oakland-based artist Aurie Ramirez. Since the early 1980s, Ramirez has worked at the Creative Growth Art Center in Oakland, CA. Creative Growth is a world-renowned workshop and art studio for adult artists with physical, mental and developmental disabilities. (Aurie has a condition that shares many characteristics with autism). Over the past two decades Ramirez has created one of the most idiosyncratic and extraordinary bodies of work – invariably watercolor drawings on paper – that echoes the visionary production of Henry Darger. (Both artists have created psychologically complex imaginary realms inhabited by a recurring cast of characters, scenarios, and narratives). Aurie’s earliest work was inspired by her interest in manifestations of the “popular gothic,” e.g. the Adams Family, or the rock band Kiss; more recently her work has evolved to describe a paradoxical late–nineteenth century, quasi-Victorian, suburban milieu populated by androgynous, mask-wearing dandies, and rainbow-hued waifs. Focusing on works made over the past five years, Ramirez’s White Columns exhibition – the first ever solo exhibition in our main gallery space – is particularly timely, as her work appears to have preempted the art world’s recent fascination with illustrational, folk, vernacular, and fairy-tale-like aesthetics. (Tendencies that can be seen in work of artists as different as Jockum Nordström, LauTextra Owens, Robyn O’Neil, Marcel Dzama, etc.).
Aurie Ramirez (b.1962) lives and works in Oakland, California. Her work has been included in numerous group shows at the Creative Growth Gallery, Oakland, and in exhibitions at Southern Exposure, and the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (both San Francisco). Her work was shown alongside that of Anthony Burdin, Tomma Abts, Jason Meadows, and Judith Scott, amongst others in Black Rainbow, Lucky Tackle Gallery, Oakland, 2003 (curated by Anne Collier).
The presentation of Aurie Ramirez’s work has been developed in association with Creative Growth (www.creativegrowth.org) and has been supported by an anonymous donation.