Mel Ramos b.Sacramento 1935-
Mel Ramos studied at Sacramento State College where he was taught by Wayne Thiebaud. The Bay Area abstract expressionists influenced his earliest work during the 50s. In 1961 he began to paint comic-strip characters, many almost life size to make them seem more realistic. He emulated his teacher’s technique of using sumptuously heavy brushwork. These first Pop works were executed without knowing what was happening simultaneously on the East Coast.
In 1963 he turned his attention to female characters such as Wonder Woman introducing that Ramos sexiness into his work. A year later he was to have his first one-man show in New York at the Paul Bianchini Gallery. He now began to combine single female figures obviously sourced from pin-up magazines with supermarket products, a very graphic statement saying “Sex sells”.
His brushwork became less prominent, less ‘painterly’, as the message took over from the medium. Next he tackled the nude in classical art, the subtle eroticism of Ingres, Boucher, Velasquez and Modigilani being replaced by an up front raw sexuality of All American cheesecake. Inevitably he has attracted much criticism from the feminist lobby but has always maintained that his work was a genuine comment on the exploitation of women in society.