In 2019, Mexican-American artist Ramiro Gomez was preparing for his solo show at the Charlie James Gallery, Here, For A Moment, which is an homage to the working class people battling the increasing pressures of contemporary American life, with socially charged themes of racial and economic disparity throughout.
A few weeks prior to the show, Gomez visited Pasadena’s Storrier-Stearns Japanese Garden seeking to clear his mind and recharge. Upon arriving, Gomez found himself transfixed with a lone maintenance worker’s quiet focus as he gently, deliberately swept leaves, engrossed in his task. Months later, Gomez painted the scene on stretched cardboard, employing a loose, expressive style reflective of the garden’s calming nature, the worker being the still center of the composition amid the swirling dance of nature.
For Gomez, there’s a personal significance in his quest to bring awareness to the lack of representation for the Latino community. Born to undocumented Mexican immigrant parents in San Bernardino, the 35-year-old artist gained popularity around 2013, when he re-imagined David Hockney’s suburban socialite portraits, re-creating them as provocative works that explore key social issues such as immigration and class dynamics through Gomez’s depiction of laborers and domestic workers inserted into the iconic settings.
In response to the nation’s current climate of stress and concern, Gomez recently released a new limited-edition print of the Storrier-Stearns garden scene with the hope that it might bring others moments of peace. Gomez’s work asserts a universal message: The world is out of control, coming apart, but the worker is there, faithfully.
Storrier-Stearns Japanese Garden, unframed print $400; cjamesgallery.com