Rachel Ramirez

Rachel Ramirez
Born 1965 BirthHong Kong.

Rachel Ramirez

Rachel Ramirez is an artist who lives in Portugal where she produces two and three dimensional works. These incorporate a wide variety of materials and printmaking techniques including digital, relief, mono, screen and Gyotaku printmaking, a traditional japanese technique (Gyo = fish, taku = rubbing).
Rachel has been producing and exhibiting works internationally since her graduation in 1994. She is a member of the Nature Printing Society.

Most recent exhibitions

2008 2nd Oregon Ink Spot Exchange Nightingale Gallery, Eastern Oregon University, Oregon, USA
Wonderland, ELP group show, Fairy Tale Museum, Bad Oeynhausen, Germany. (Travelling in 2009 to the Brothers Grimm Museum, Kassel, Germany and the V&A Museum of Chilhood, London)
Decarbonart, City Hall, Greater London Authority, Southbank, London
E17 Art Trail, Kelmscott School, London
Women Artists, Mercado da Ribeira, Tavira, Portugal www.art-in-tavira.com
Gyotaku, (solo show) Galeria do Conservatório Regional do Algarve Maria Campina, Fundação Pedro Ruivo, Faro, Portugal
Re: Artists Books, Artworks Milton Keynes, Herefordshire Art College & Portsmouth University, UK
Draw-in International Drawing Exhibition, 00130 Gallery, Helsinki, Finland
Gyotaku (solo show) Galeria Rua de Feira Nº 34, Junta de Freguesia de Olhão, Portugal
International Mini Print Show, Naestved Roennebaeksholm Arts & Culture Centre, Denmark
Rich & Strange Altered Books, Flock Gallery University of Wales & Newport Central Library , UK
Gyotaku solo exhibition at the Biblioteca Central de Gambelas, Faro, Portugal
Regenerator, Altered Books, University of the West of England, Bristol, UK
Prints Tokyo 2007, Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum Ueno & Saitama Museum of Arts, Okinawa, Japan
Rich & Strange Altered Books, Newport Central Library, Wales, UK
Private collections

Belgium, Cuba, Germany, Greece, Japan, The Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, UK, USA, Ireland
Public collections

Fundação Pedro Ruivo, Faro, Portugal
Camara Municipal, Barreiro, Portugal
Cornell College, Mount Vernon, USA
British Library, London
Permanent Print Collection, Eastern Oregon University, Oregon, USA
The Americas Biennial Exhibition Archive, Iowa, USA
Tate Library & Archive Collection, Hyman Kreitman Research Centre, Tate Britain, London

MA Fine Art, 1992-1994
Royal College of Art
BA Hons Fine Art, 1989-1992
Central St Martins College of Art
Rachel recently completed a 40-hour scientific illustration course (24-30 November 2008) taught by Dr Fernando Correia www.efecorreia-artstudio.com

Rachel Ramirez

There is a saying ‘life is a journey, where the destination is unknown’. As an artist, I try to reflect and interpret my own journey. Thoughts, dreams, memories, experiences and communications are all perceived through language whether auditory, visual, tactile, oral or olfactory. I believe the book format lends itself to the idea of a journey and is the perfect medium in which to express these ideas.

I was born in Kowloon, Hong Kong. As a baby my mother carried me on her back in a Chinese Mai-dai. This is a traditional square cloth with a length of fabric at each corner, used to carry a baby or small child securely on an adults back, enabling the infant to receive the same view of the World as the adult, as opposed to being carried facing the adults chest or being in a pram looking around from a low level. So, whilst I have no direct memory of time spent in Hong Kong and Japan as an infant, I am sure that visual imprinting took place. As I grew up in England surrounded by conversations, oriental artefacts and photographs of this other life it became a part of my family’s history and my own personal memory and the family’s collected memories.

In 1993 I was fortunate enough to win the Royal College of Art Japan Scholarship. This enabled me to study for three months at the Kyoto City University of the Arts in Kyoto Japan. Before arriving in Tokyo I spent a few weeks in Hong Kong discovering for myself the places and sensations which, had so often been discussed at home. The time spent in Hong Kong and Japan had a profound and lasting effect on my artwork and life.

The Lunchtime book arose from the memories of this experience, of being in a culture, which simultaneously is familiar and yet so different. The imagery and text come from eating a bento box (a takeaway meal) whilst watching Ridley Scott’s film Blade Runner at a cinema in Osaka. Upon leaving the cinema it was as if science fiction had become science fact. It was difficult to distinguish reality from film.

The book is the same size as a bento box and is wrapped in a screen-printed cloth or furoshiki a traditional cloth for carrying objects in. It comes complete with it’s own disposable chopsticks and plastic, fish shaped, soy sauce bottle. The covers are made to resemble a lacquer ware box. Modern disposable bento boxes made in plastic and polystyrene often resemble bamboo or traditional lacquer ware. The concertina pages open and read from left to right as opposed to the majority of Japanese books, which open from what Westerners would consider the back and are read from right to left. The text comes from random passages of the film’s dialogue and whilst they have little connection to the images they take on a new significance. I found that whilst living in Japan any English word that I read or heard, however banal, leapt out at me and took on a new significance. English words were frequently used to decorate clothing and household items. It has been described as ‘Japlish’, translations of sentences in English which lose their true meaning due to incorrect grammar, spelling, word order, context or intonation. It was with this in mind that lead me to produce ‘Green is Good’.

I visited Japan for the third time in April 2004 at the arrival of spring and cherry blossom viewing. I collected vast amounts of visual imagery and kept notebooks from which I selected text and visuals to make a small-scale, small edition book. The choice of the dimensions and edition number was intended to reflect people’s relationship and affection for the everyday technology, which surrounded them. From the minute palm top digital diaries to tiny mobile phones, mass produced plastic made into unique treasures by the owners addition of lucky charms, stickers and carrying cases. The seven Green is Good books and one Artists Proof are made by hand, each with a slight variation (i.e. the colour of the origami crane, etc.) each book a tiny personal treasure. Japan is a culture in which the traditional and modern co-exist, by using a mixture of digital transfer prints, rubber stamps, copper foil, origami and Japanese papers I hoped to show the union of traditional and modern.

At first glance the text resembles a haiku being arranged in three lines but does not have the required 17 syllables. Again, something that is not as it seems. Similar to memories that become embellished or slightly altered with age. The text is a mixture of English and Japanese words selected from my notebooks which I kept as I travelled around Kyoto and the surrounding areas.

It was not until 2005 that I completed the book when I moved from London to live in Portugal. Once again experiencing a different culture and language.