Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Karen Karnes & Mel Ramos at the Crocker

 It's a mark of the diverse collections at the Crocker Museum in Sacramento that they can present two such disparate artists as pioneering potter Karen Karnes along with an exhibit of work by Mel Ramos, whose paintings of women represent a particularly explicit pop art and Playboy version of the nude.

Karnes is a potter of subtle glazes and elegant form whose work ranges from hand thrown free form pieces to more traditional works. She pioneered the form and extended that pioneering philosophy to her own life when she moved to Vermont with her life partner, Anne Stannard.  Her work is very Zen, very Japanese, very peaceful in affect.

Mel Ramos's art is an entirely different matter.

 Ramos. Hamburger Girl, 1972 (Playboy calendar?)

I do appreciate Ramos' art although I find it vulgar and sexist. Being a feminist doesn't prevent me from liking bright, candy colors and skillful realism.

However, we sure don't need any more reinforcement of the "woman as boobs" presentation in our culture.

But Mel Ramos' work is just a small and elite part of the daily flood of images that crudely objectify a certain type of female body. At least he is a skilled painter.


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