Alfredo Ramos Martinez and Latin American Modernism
September 23 – December 23, 2017
Los Angeles, CA. Louis Stern Fine Arts is pleased to present “Alfredo Ramos Martinez and Latin American Modernism.” The exhibition of paintings, drawings, sculptures and mixed-media works, made from 1932 to 2017, explores connections and correspondences between a pioneering Mexican Modernist and a varied array of younger Latin American artists.
The gallery has organized the exhibition in conjunction with “Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA,” a far-reaching initiative of the Getty Trust. Designed to illuminate complex relationships between Los Angeles and the work of Latin American and Latino artists, the collaborative project has inspired exhibitions and related programs at more than 70 cultural institutions throughout Southern California.
At Louis Stern Fine Arts, Alfredo Ramos Martinez is the central figure. A cosmopolitan artist who was born in Mexico in 1871, championed modern painting in his homeland and maintained a strong Mexican identity throughout his life, he broadened his cultural horizons during a Paris-based sojourn in the early part of his career (1900-1910) and established a strong presence in Southern California in his final years. Although Ramos Martinez and his wife moved to Los Angeles in 1929 in search of medical help for their infant daughter, the city turned out to be a productive home base for the artist who enjoyed considerable success as a painter and muralist until his death in 1946.
The six works by Ramos Martinez on view at the gallery include a somber self-portrait of the slightly-built, bespectacled artist and two dynamic landscapes that transform natural forms into bold abstractions. Figurative works, portraying nuns, female flower vendors and a male casualty of war, represent the artist’s abiding interest in traditional ways of life in Mexico as well as his quiet resistance to brutality and injustice.
Other artists whose works were selected for the show are Jean Charlot, José Luis Cuevas and Armando Romero of Mexico; Alejandro Xul Solar, Andres Bancalari and Anita Payró of Argentina; Claudio Bravo and Roberto Matta of Chile; Carlos Cruz-Diez and Manuel Ojeda of Venezuela; and Cecilia Z. Miguez of Uruguay. The vast geographic span is reflected in a breadth of artistic approaches, from crisp orchestrations of hard-edge forms to fluid expressions of human tension and emotional pain. Whether echoes of Ramos Martinez are strong or subtle, it’s clear that early Latin American Modernism sparked a profusion of creative expression.