Manipulating the Masters: Christina Ramos
By Patrick Quinn
For the past five years, Gabba Gallery has showcased a variety of street artists. Gallery owner Jason Ostro has also introduced the Gabba Alley Project in which local painters create murals to beautify the neighborhood. Christina Ramos’ solo show currently on display at Gabba Gallery gives the term “street art” a unique and irreverent spin.
“Manipulating the Masters” is a two-part show in which the painter playfully asks a simple question. What happens when you mash-up the Millennial Generation’s sense of entitlement with the legacy of the Old Grand Masters? Or more to the point, would Henry the Eighth enjoy a Double Double with Animal-Style fries? One can only assume he would.
In the first part of the show, Christina Ramos has painted portraits of iconic painters such as Andy Warhol and Pablo Picasso standing proudly in front of one of their signature works.
The twist being that the art in the background is painted on a derelict wall, as if they had created a mural to beautify a downtrodden neighborhood. If Georgia O’Keefe had decided to tag a wall with a cow skull, this might have been how things turned out.
In the second part of the show, the artist recreates portraits originally painted by Hans Holbein the Younger, the 16th century court painter for King Henry the Eighth. Ramos has reimagined the Tudor royalty with contemporary motifs, featuring iPhones, tattoos, and fast food.
An ambitious concept like this lives or dies by the artist’s ability to recreate the brush strokes of a 16th century painter. Fortunately, Christina Ramos has the chops to pull it off. A graduate of the Los Angeles Academy of Figurative Arts, she is also a member of the Portrait Society of America. This traditional background has given her the ability to pull off what could have been, in the hands of a lesser artist, a one-joke scenario.
The artist was recently named an “Artist to Watch in 2015” by Southwest Art Magazine and has been honored by the Portrait Society of America, the Society Acrylic and Casein Painters, and other associations. “Manipulating the Masters” runs through to June 23rd.
3126 Beverly Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90057
Hours: Weds – Sat noon – 3pm and by appointment