Biography of Mel Ramos
The ironic Pop-art style of Mel Ramos lambasts the advertising clichés found in advertising and media. With a global following, his iconic images of nude women, superheroes and items from popular culture have been exhibited around the world.
Born in Sacramento, California in 1935, Mel Ramos studied under Wayne Thiebaud at the Sacramento State College. Greatly influenced by his teacher, he drew on the style of Pop art to become a leading exponent of the movement in the 1960s. Typical scenes would be of voluptuous female nudes in vast martini glasses and idealized female figures resembling those seen in Playboy Magazine spreads. The provocative sensuality is often offset with strange combinations, such as a naked woman emerging from a half-unpeeled candy wrapper, or a naked woman leaning on a giant cigar. Throughout his career he has carefully deconstructed the nature of advertising, blending idealized beauty with intellectual interrogation.
His first exhibitions were held in the early 1960s and by 1967 Mel Ramos exhibited his work in a solo show at the influential San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Beginning in 1966, he held the post of professor at the California State University in Hayward until 1997. Now he divides much of his time between Oakland, California and Horta de San Juan in Spain. From self-portraits to landscape paintings, Ramos continues to expand his repertoire and to explore new directions in his work.
Alongside Roy Lichtenstein and Andy Warhol, Mel Ramos took inspiration from comic book images and together the three great artists exhibited their work at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in 1963. He has had numerous large exhibitions including at the Kunsthalle Tübingen in 2010, and a major exhibition at the Albertina in Vienna in 2011 entitled “Mel Ramos: Girls, Candies & Comics.” Perhaps most significantly in his hometown of Sacramento in 2012 at the Crocker Art Museum, a 50-year Retrospective was held in his honor.