A Natural Equation
Painting has a way of bringing me back full circle to my creative roots. It is my voice expressed and a personal exploration into a world purely of my own making. It allows me to speak from my heart, to what moves and motivates me, while serving as a mirror of my inner being.
Carlos Ramirez’s joyous, deep paintings invite us to connect with him at a level beyond words. His large-scale abstractions are serene and yet buoyant, tethered yet open, intuitive yet structured—closing the gap between the dualities that exist in both life and painting.
Painting is for him a life-changing endeavor that he both loves and must do, and a part of his daily life. When not traveling to show the collections of his fashion house, Liancarlo, he spends evenings in his studio painting.
He brings to his artwork what he has brought for many years to his collections of couture gowns—a sense of timelessness and elegance. Cut from the same cloth, his paintings begin with his distinct lines developed for years in thousands of sketches for fabrics, embroideries, and clothing.
I begin collections with a series of sketches that borrow shapes from the natural world—which I slowly morph and abstract as I work. It is from this same place that I develop a painting. I am a sketcher by nature, so I begin each canvas with loose lines that borrow heavily from this internal garden. Though a lot of the lines are lost in the actual painting process, they set a mood and rhythm for the work and maintain a strong, vital connection to nature.
When working he hangs multiple pieces in his studio space, but works on one painting at a time. Often he steps away to gain objectivity from the emotion he brings to the work, allowing things to settle before seeing his painting again with fresh eyes. He allows things to happen first and then edits— a process of working back and forth between line and transparent/opaque color.
Ramirez, an avid hiker, often brings the outside world into his paintings, and those experiences subconsciously influence his work. Studying the painting titled Slot Canyons at Tent Rocks reveals his process. Ink line marks made with a broken twig are coupled with more open areas of color and space that lead the eye gently into a circular movement that opens into a sky-like space. At the moment of stepping back from the piece he remembered a hike he’d taken a few years prior through the mysterious canyons of red stone in New Mexico with a blue sky above him, taking him back to his experience in nature. This strong connection with nature always guides his sensibility. His paintings are organic and ripe with a deeply sensitive connection to life.
Ramirez has always been, at the core of his being, an artist and painter, and like many, has balanced that part of his being with a successful career. Intertwining both often, but always making painting a priority in his life, taking workshops with greats such as the painter Wolf Kahn who gave him permission to explore new things as a painter. Recalling a workshop with Kahn he remembers:
At some point in that workshop, it dawned on me that art was not about rules and procedures… that was bullshit… it was about romance! Making someone’s heart yearn for an image… falling in love with your art to the point that it took over your thoughts.
His paintings are his true creative work, reflecting a passion for independence and individuality through an authentic voice that is not derivative or contrived. The underlying structure and rhythm of his paintings are grounded in drawing that serves as a container for gestural and expressive marks in the spirit of Abstract Expressionism.
Ramirez loves working large because he feels as though he has “fallen into the painting, and that it is has taken all control of [his] visual world for the moment.”
This work in painting that I am doing now is a part of my evolution, and it is a natural progression from drawing into something more liberating and adventurous. But even more, it allows me to speak from a different place than before, in a whole new language… and often when I get to work on my painting, I have no clue what to do next, and then, it’s almost as if by magic, things begin to happen….
—Katherine Duncan Aimone