Joe Ramiro Garcia
lives in Santa Fe, NM
born in Houston, TX
joeramirogarcia.com | @joeramirogarcia
Joe Ramiro Garcia’s postmodern painting process doesn’t just involve traditional brush strokes and smears on canvas, though it also includes these techniques. Garcia, an Art Institute of Chicago–educated artist who moved to Santa Fe from his native Houston in 1987, developed a unique transfer procedure: he creates an image or pattern on paper that’s soaked in gum arabic and water, which is then hand pressed onto a painting surface. It’s a transfer method similar to those used by Jasper Johns, Robert Rauschenberg, Andy Warhol, and Nancy Spero—but also vastly different, because Garcia doesn’t silkscreen, monoprint, or etch.
The end results are oil paintings that Garcia calls “open narratives” due to the layers of mixed-media materials. “This open narrative allows the viewer personal, emotional, and possibly psychological interpretations of my work,” Garcia writes in a 2016 artist statement. “The oil and alkyd medium is the same from the bottom layer to the top painted layer. That is why I describe my work as ‘painting’ and not mixed media.”
Visually, Garcia’s paintings, which often blur realism with caricature and pattern, cast a wide net in terms of subject matter. Minstrel, which includes images of recognizable mascots from big American brands and marketing campaigns, comments on consumerism, while The Store is a straight-ahead photo-realistic likeness of an everyday convenience shop.
Garcia, who is represented by Blue Gallery in Kansas City, has recently had several solo exhibitions at Santa Fe’s LewAllen Galleries. He has also taught advanced painting at the Institute for American Indian Arts. In 2005, Garcia received a painters and sculptors grant from the Joan Mitchell Foundation.