b. 1963 El Paso, TX; Lives and works in New Jersey
Paul Henry Ramirez (b. 1963 El Paso, TX) is a painter and sculptor known for his signature use of bold forms and biogeomorphic abstraction. In 2010, Ramirez coined the term “biogeomorphic abstraction” to describe his particular fusion of biomorphic and geometric forms that yield a mix of hard-edged and figurative abstraction. Like the biological systems they reference, Ramirez’s work across media remains interconnected through its fluidity and dynamism. Elements are pared down in order to highlight the bones of the figure. His use of color reinforces the playful manner of his work and presents a reduction of the body to its most basic shapes. Replete with swollen silhouettes, chromatic paint pours, and delicate lines, his compositions are simultaneously unpredictable and composed, organic and meticulous.
Over the past two decades, Ramirez has created site-specific immersive installations that combine his figural-based drawings, paintings, objects, sculpture, lighting, music, dance and furniture with the surrounding architecture to guide viewers through the space. Ramirez develops a total environment, inviting viewers into a multidimensional sensory experience. “It's my hope that the viewer will feel like they're coming into the belly of the work, almost like walking into a canvas,” Ramirez explained. His site-specific installations were first featured in New York City’s alternative exhibition spaces like the Drawing Center in 1994, Clock Tower Gallery and Franklin Furnace in 1995. In 2010, Paul Henry Ramirez was invited to create a major site-specific installation BLACKOUT: A Centennial Commission for the Newark Museum.
Ramirez studied at the University of Texas at El Paso. He lives and works in New Jersey.
In 2018, Ramirez completed the commission Sweet On at the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art in Kansas City, and in 2017, he was the subject of a major site-specific solo exhibition, RATTLE, commissioned by Grounds For Sculpture in Hamilton, New Jersey. He has also exhibited at the Whitney Museum of American Art’s 2002 Space Addiction exhibition.
His work was previously featured at the Akron Art Museum in Akron, Ohio and at McNay Art Museum in San Antonio, Texas as part of the traveling exhibition Beauty Reigns: A Baroque Sensibility in Recent Painting. His work in the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s Our America: The Latino Presence in American Art exhibition traveled to eight American art museums through 2017, including the Patricia and Phillip Frost Art Museum at Florida International University, Miami; Crocker Art Museum, Sacramento; Utah Museum of Fine Arts, Salt Lake City; Arkansas Art Center, Little Rock; Delaware Art Museum, Wilmington; Allentown Art Museum, Allentown; Museum of Fine Arts, St. Petersburg; and Hunter Museum of American Art, Chattanooga.
Ramirez has further exhibited at El Paso Museum of Art (2019), Mennello Museum of American Art (2018), McNay Art Museum (2015), Smithsonian American Art Museum (2013), Brooklyn Museum of Art (2004), Aldrich Museum (2004), and the Contemporary Arts Center, Cincinnati (2001), among others.
His work is held in the permanent collections of the Austin Museum of Art, TX; Crocker Art Museum, CA; El Paso Museum of Art, TX; Hammer Museum, CA; Hirshhorn Museum, Washington, DC; NASA, Washington, DC; Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, DC; The Hyde Collection, NY; The Newark Museum, NJ; and the Whitney Museum of American Art, NY.
with contributions by William Chiego, René Paul Barilleaux, Stephen Westfall, and Lilly Wei
Seriously Playful: Paul Henry Ramirez 1995-2004