Tuesday, October 16, 2018

In Memory of Mel Ramos

Mel Ramos at Magnolia Editions


We are sad to report that longtime friend of the studio and Pop Art pioneer Mel Ramos passed away this weekend at the age of 83.

Born in Sacramento on July 24, 1935, Ramos studied art and art history at Sacramento State College. He taught at local high schools and held a teaching position at CSU Hayward from 1966-1997, continuing as an emeritus professor while teaching intermittently at CCAC (now California College of the Arts).

All the while Ramos maintained a highly prolific studio practice which, in addition to his signature oil paintings on canvas, encompassed a variety of printmaking techniques including silkscreen, etching, woodcut, and more.

Mel Ramos - Wonder Woman, 2014
woodcut with acrylic
image: 37 x 26.75 in. paper: 44 x 30 in.
Edition of 30


Ramos's work was exhibited and appreciated worldwide; in later years, he enjoyed great acclaim particularly in Germany, where it seemed there was a nearly continuous demand for his colorful, instantly recognizable Pop Art style.

In 2010, Villa Stuck in M√ľnchen, Germany mounted a major solo exhibition, "Mel Ramos: 50 Years of Pop Art," comprising five decades worth of work by Ramos including paintings, drawings, watercolors, and sculptures. Another major exhibition of his work was held at the Albertina in Vienna, Austria in 2011.

German galleries and collectors figured prominently in the enthusiastic response to the editions Ramos published with Magnolia over the last several decades.

These projects included woodcut images of classic superheroes; tapestry versions of some of his most iconic paintings; a limited edition, laser-cut jigsaw puzzle featuring Ramos's take on comic book hero Captain Midnight; and the Albrecht Durer tribute Leta on Durer's Rhino, an etching with UV-cured acrylic ink on paper, executed at Magnolia with the help of master printers Tallulah Terryll and Nicholas Price and additional assistance from artist Guy Diehl.


Mel Ramos - Superman, 2014
woodcut with acrylic
image: 37 x 26.75 in. paper: 44 x 30 in.
Edition of 30


"Mel Ramos: 50 Years of Superheroes, Nudes, and Other Pop Delights," a retrospective of over 50 years of Ramos's work was exhibited at the Crocker Art Museum in his hometown of Sacramento in 2012.

Mel often visited Magnolia with his wife Leta and daughter/studio manager Rochelle Leininger. Below please find a gallery of memories from some of his recent visits.

Ramos with artwork by Don & Era Farnsworth; note his Mel Ramos t-shirt!


Ramos with an early proof of the UV ink layer of his 2015 Hawkman woodcut edition


Ramos with proofs of his 2015 Hawkman woodcut edition


Ramos and Guy Diehl with proof of his 2016 etching Leta on Durer's Rhino


Diehl, Ramos, and Don Farnsworth with proof of his 2016 etching Leta on Durer's Rhino


Ramos celebrating with Magnolia staff at Bay Wolf restaurant in Oakland, CA


A film crew captures Magnolia master printer Nicholas Price printing a Ramos woodcut at Magnolia


Ramos with proofs of his 2014 woodcut Wonder Woman


Don Farnsworth, Guy Diehl, Ramos, and master printers Nicholas Price and Tallulah Terryll with proofs of Ramos's 2014 woodcut Wonder Woman


Ramos editioning Wonder Woman with Tallulah Terryll and Rochelle Leininger


Farnsworth and Ramos with the latter's label design for Christian Tschida winery


Ramos at home in his Oakland studio with proofs of his 2016 etching Leta on Durer's Rhino


Rochelle Leininger, Mel Ramos and Leta Ramos at Ramos's studio with proofs of his 2016 etching Leta on Durer's Rhino


Portrait of Mel Ramos by Don Farnsworth


Portrait of Mel Ramos by Don Farnsworth


Ramos at home in his Oakland studio


Ramos with work by George Miyasaki at a memorial for Miyasaki


Ramos with Price and Ernst Hilger at Magnolia Editions


Mel and Leta Ramos with Beverly Berrish at Magnolia Editions


Ramos at Magnolia Editions


Portrait of Mel Ramos by Don Farnsworth

More art by Mel Ramos from Magnolia Editions

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Donald & Era Farnsworth at Port Angeles Fine Art Center


Donald & Era Farnsworth - In the Moonlight (I Forget I'm Human), 2017
cotton Jacquard tapestry with acrylic paint, 96 1/2 x 64 1/2 inches

Please join us at Port Angeles Fine Art Center in Port Angeles, WA for the opening of "I Forget I'm Human," an exhibition of tapestries and works on paper by Donald and Era Farnsworth on view from September 22 through November 18, 2018. An opening reception with the artists will be held Saturday, September 22 from 5-7 pm.

Additionally, the Farnsworths will give a public presentation in the Raymond Carver Room at the Port Angeles Library on Sunday, September 23, 3-5 pm; this event is free and open to the public.

Donald & Era Farnsworth - Bulwark, 2017
mixed media on linen canvas, 70 x 46 inches

In "I Forget I’m Human," the Farnsworths address the relationship between humanity and the environment, investigating how myth and science have shaped human values from ancient times to the present day. Nearly all of the compositions in "I Forget I’m Human" include multiple layers of both hand-painted and digitally generated elements, creating a palimpsest-like effect that echoes the layers, patinas, and weathered wabi-sabi of works that have survived from ancient times while also incorporating contemporary digital processes.

The exhibition includes tapestries which use a medium older than oil on canvas – weaving, albeit updated by 19th-century Jacquard and 21st-century digital color matching technologies. Meanwhile, the Farnsworths' Art Notes series ‘recycles’ and re-imagines one dollar bill notes, re-envisioning the “Almighty Dollar” as a site wherein to celebrate heroes of creativity and conservation and to light-heartedly castigate polluters and oligarchs. A series of works depicting therianthropic (animal-human hybrid) deities harkens back to those appearing in the earliest surviving human artworks while also incorporating elements from Buddhist, Hindu, Judeo-Christian, Islamic and Jungian iconographies.

Donald & Era Farnsworth - Aulos Echo, 2017
mixed media, 42 x 31 inches

From ancient gods with the heads of animals to living, breathing endangered species; from the capitalistic fever for accumulated wealth to precious natural resources like clean air and water, what we value is evident in the symbolic and visual output of our species: our myths and sacred images. In "I Forget I’m Human," the Farnsworths trace this output, offering a glimpse of the hubris of humanity matched with an optimistic appeal for spiritual and ecological balance.

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Open Studios June 2 and 3: Handmade paper sale!

Find handmade paper at an exceptional bargain this weekend at Magnolia's open studios.

Artists, art lovers, collectors, and handmade paper enthusiasts alike are invited to visit Magnolia's Open Studios this weekend, June 2 and 3, from 10 am to 4 pm.

The studio will offer a print sale during Open Studios this year. Such sales only happen at the studio once or twice a decade... Many brilliant editions from the archives will be available at a discount!

Various sizes, colors, and quantities of handmade paper will also be available at unprecedented prices -- in many cases, lower than what you might pay wholesale.

Please join us at 2527 Magnolia St in Oakland, CA (Google maps link).

(Please note: sale applies only to framed work and selected editions. Sale prices available only to Open Studios visitors in person; sorry, no sale prices via web/phone.)

Thursday, April 12, 2018

"Nomadic Murals: Contemporary Tapestries and Carpets" at Boca Raton Museum of Art

Alexandre Arrechea - Mask Series: Havana, 2016
Jacquard tapestry, 99 x 99 in. Edition of 3

Numerous tapestries published by Magnolia Editions will appear in "Nomadic Murals: Contemporary Tapestries and Carpets," on view at the Boca Raton Museum of Art from April 24 – October 21, 2018.

The show is not limited to tapestries from Magnolia: tapestry publications from the studio by artists such as Kiki Smith, Aziz & Cucher, Alex Katz, Kiki Smith, Nancy Spero, and Alexandre Arrechea will be exhibited alongside woven works by various other artists including William Kentridge, Fred Tomaselli, Kara Walker, and Kehinde Wiley.

Kiki Smith - Harbor, 2015
Jacquard tapestry, 116 x 76 in. Edition of 10

The exhibition’s title refers to the portable nature of the medium; the phrase “nomadic mural” is borrowed from an essay about tapestry by Modernist architect Le Corbusier.

Throughout the centuries, notes the exhibition press release, important artists such as Rubens and Raphael were famous for their tapestries, and in the 20th century artists including Picasso, Braque, Leger, and Miro embraced the medium. Today, artists have increasingly incorporated tapestry into their oeuvre no matter the medium for which they are known.

For more details, please visit the Boca Raton Museum of Art website.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

"Ethics Excess Extinction" at El Paso Museum of Art

Kiki Smith - Congregation, 2014
Jacquard tapestry, 116 x 76 in. Edition of 10

Opening January 26, 2018 at the El Paso Museum of Art and curated by Randy Jayne Rosenberg of Art Works for Change, "Ethics Excess Extinction" features contemporary artists exploring the theme of endangered animal species:

The exhibition explores the reality of animal life: cruelty towards animals as seen through factory farming; the breeding of animals for their hides and fur; hunting animals for their potential medicinal powers; and an alternative vision of the world where all animals are respected and protected from suffering and commercial exploitation. The artists examine the many sides of the story: from the philosophical, where animals are regarded as emotional beings in which we recognize ourselves, to the economic, where animals are killed and sold to support the demands of luxury markets.


Kiki Smith - Earth, 2012
Jacquard tapestry, 116 x 75 in. Edition of 10

Participating artists include Kiki Smith, Chris Jordan, Esther Traugot, and Nick Brandt, who variously use poetry, humor, technology, and scale to explore the plight of endangered animals and our relationship to them. Artworks range from three tapestries by Smith (published by Magnolia Editions) to large-scale photographs to literal “white elephants” in the room created by Miami sculptor Billie Grace Lynn.

For more information on the exhibition, please visit Art Works for Change.

Kiki Smith - Sojourn, 2015
Jacquard tapestry, 116 x 76 in. Edition of 10