“To be able to do what you like, with total creative freedom…and that people buy your work…is a great privilege,” says Gabriel Ramírez Aznar, Yucatecan artist and creator, who doesn’t define himself with only one label. He prefers to be described as a painter who lives art without limitations, expressing it in engravings, drawings, or paintings; as an avid reader of biographies and literature classics; and also as someone who writes about cinema, another of his great passions.
Ramírez Aznar was born on January 4, 1938, in Mérida, Yucatán, the city he lives in today. He has received various national and international prizes for his artistic work as well as for his writing. This self-taught artist has exhibited his work in Cuba, Israel, Chile, Nicaragua, as well as 35 exhibits in the now closed Galería Pecanins in Mexico City.
Belonging to the “Rupture” generation, Ramírez has distinguished himself by maintaining a unique esthetic that does not conform to trends or conventions. His paintings display primary colors of great force, shapes, and movement, with an abstract style that has transcended the contemporary painting scene in Mérida.
To visit him in his home is to enter a world of movies and books in which Gabriel moves around like a fish in water. “To have discipline is a must,” he explains, while he talks of a normal work day. His paintings take form in a maximum of three sessions. On the first day, he works directly on the canvas nailed to the wall for more than six hours straight, in a creative process that places the visual restlessness almost by impulse directly on the fabric. Later he revisits the painting in one or two more sessions, just to fine-tune details.
The majority of his paintings come to life spontaneously, in solitude, without stopping to plan or make sketches in advance. Many of his works do not have titles, and he continues to review them until they are exhibited.
He considers himself a part-time painter; to create a painting requires energy and physical condition. “It is not a full time job that I can do all of the time,” he explains. Currently he is working on some autobiographical texts, compiling experiences that he has had from his first exhibition in 1965 up until today.
“Perhaps I will paint again in the summer,” he says, adding that he is willing to exhibit his latest collection “Los colores y las líneas” (the colors and the lines), 47 paintings that were presented in October 2015 in the gallery of the Teatro Peón Contreras in Mérida. His inspiration was the light, life, and colors of Yucatán, and the project was presented in a catalog published by the state government of Yucatán, which you can also look at to view part of his trajectory.
Part of that collection can be enjoyed today at the Manjar Blanco restaurant (Calle 47 #496 between 58 and 60, Centro). Also, at Museo Fernando García Ponce – MACAY (Calle 60 between 61 and 63, Centro), beside the main cathedral), dedicated to contemporary art, there is an important collection of his works in one of their permanent exhibition rooms.
By Violeta H. Cantarell
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