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Oil on Canvas, 2014
18 x 25"
Millett: i need context and background info
Ramos: the piece is an extension of an ongoing series in which I propose buildings in the image of the body and claim existing buildings as large scale bodies that don't quite function because of their dependency on infrastructure
the human body is autonomous to a certain degree, buildings can be as well
Millett: and painting this does what?
Ramos: painting allows me to explore, express, manifest to a certain extent, these ideals that currently have no funding
painting the world as it should be, releases the anxiety of not being able to make it happen right now
Millett: gotcha, they are theoretical pieces of what could be
Ramos: and what is, buildings are living organisms in a vegetative state, corpses of living organisms
Millett: alright, so is the discussion about the actual work or about your conceptual argument for the work?
Ramos: that's up to you as the critic, could be both
Millett: personally, i have a problem with the premise of the work, conceptually, maybe its in the way you are wording it, but it seems you are assuming a lot
Ramos: where do you see a problem?
Millett: for example - how are humans autonomous?
Ramos: you disagree?
perhaps nomadic is more appropriate, but autonomous is also applicable since humans can move around unattached to infrastructure
humans don't have to eat from the same table nor shit in the same toilet, humans can choose to hunt food instead of buying it, and compost waste instead of flushing it
id say humans are completely dependent on their environment to survive, at the most basic, primal level
Ramos: not necessarily to an infrastructure, there is a difference between environment and infrastructure, the latter has a price, a cost, a monopoly, a rigid controlling body
Millett: ok but autonomy conveys self reliance, independence
Ramos: and humans are, i can grab a fruit from a tree if there were trees with fruits around, but the economic infrastructure cuts down the trees and puts up a store, look at the citrus conspiracy in Florida
Millett: so dependency only applies to infrastructure because its a built, material thing yet does not apply to nature?
Ramos: you mean nature is infrastructure?
Millett: yes, just a different type, we compost, pick berries etc.. you are plugging into a different system
Ramos: yes absolutely, but one is a monopoly and the other one is a right, a right that has been taken away
Millett: that’s your opinion
Ramos: do you believe water is a human right?
Millett: lets back track a moment
ok, so you are building, through your work, a vision of what you believe in, is that fair to say?
Ramos: yes, when i look at a building, this is what i see
Millett: right, i understand
i would construct your argument for work in less absolute terms and as a more Utopian vision for a new kind of future
does that make sense?
Ramos: the latter part makes sense... what do you mean by less absolute terms?
Millett: this is personal for you, its an opinion, people will disagree with you, some will agree, others will be indifferent
i don't think the work is about convincing someone to agree, but instead a more powerful exploration, the potential of what could be
Ramos: i understand and agree
Millett: aesthetically, it kinda reminds of the surrealist in a sense, but also architecture firms like archigram
Walking City in New York, 1964
Millett: i would also say the work could go in so many directions -
like for example, something i would love to see:
highly developed, technical drawing/collages of functional buildings, like how all the pieces really work together combining such extremely different components, with a model, or something like it
it could bring a level of reality to the work, i'm not sure where you want to go
Ramos: oil paint is very new to me, i like how endless it is, and how it can achieve the essence of a collage without the constraint of existing images
I love the work of archigram btw... but in my process, existing images are a little claustrophobic
Millett: with oils it can be done but it will take lots and lots of refinement
the most successful images are the collage and the charcoal piece
Photo Collage, 2014
8.5 x 11"
Ramos: i had a feeling you'd say that
Oil on Board, 2014
18 x 25"
Millett: its the clarity, i can easily associate what you say with what i see versus the first piece
Ramos: yes i understand, there has to be a way with oils
Ramos: what i love about oils is the unknown in what the painting will end up looking like
the collage is so predictable, i don't get as much from the process
Millett: understandable, but where are the constraints? the parameters for working under? at some point you will need rules and restrictions
Ramos: give me an example of rules and restrictions
Millett: hmm - hear me out for a second
where does discovery end? if every painting is a new discovery, every time you think about the work, the process etc.. its all about experimentation, no?
you need to decide when it is and when is not, because it can’t all be about experimentation. You need to put your foot on the ground
so whether it is the act of making (painting) or the act of thinking (your conceptual premise for the work) you need to commit and implement, refine
Ramos: and there is discovery in that as well
Millett: but it needs balance
Ramos: I’ll know the painting will be successful the day you like it more than the collage, so I will continue the collage just to see
Millett: can you make the painting more like the collage?
Ramos: there are different ways to think about that process, one would be to paint as if silk-screening, each layer noticeably independent from the next
another would be to disregard cohesiveness of scale and angles, which is quite liberating
Millett: yes i think you need to use techniques that implement your vision
so your audience can take part in your ideas
your vision needs to be readily accessible in the work in my opinion
Ramos: otherwise why exhibit at all