‘Dreams in the Garden’ is partially based on a visit to the Folly Garden at Stancombe in Gloucestershire. Nick Barlow the architectural photographer, who is the owner of the garden, invited Ramiro to stay for a week in the newly converted Temple. In the tranquil, exotic beauty of this extraordinary place, filled with lakes and grottos, Ramiro conjured up his latest series of paintings.
Tigers, monkeys, parrots and sailors remain among the cast playing within the grounds of this garden, but moving further afield on sea voyages to exotic lands. Ramiro captures the imaginative thrill of discovering unexplored lands, and encountering the exotic. Even within his interiors, patterned wallpapers become jungles. It is this subject matter that the distinguished painter Craigie Aitchison loved. The two artists were great friends until Craigie’s death in 2009. Just two weeks before he died Craigie visited Ramiro’ exhibition at Long and Ryle.
The period that Ramiro evokes is hard to pin down. His world is not constrained by History; collective memories of historical events and customs commingle with personal memories. The anxieties of the present vanish and everything seems bathed in the spirit of romance. Poets and writers continue to influence and inspire Ramiro’s work. Scenes depicted have a heightened sense of reality and as we enter this playful dream world we have the sense of the house lights of the theatre being dimmed, as if we are watching a magical drama played out on the canvas before us.
“The casual observer might assume that there was something folky about Ramiro’s work; far from it. This is not a sensibility derived from popular art forms such as painted inn signs or fairground decorations. It would be more accurate to adduce a kinship with 18th century French and Spanish painting, to look for comparisons among the achievements of the Rococo and Baroque. In fact Ramiro is a circus master of his fantasies, an adept of concealment and disguise, a skilful manipulator. Not at all naïve, he is a deeply sophisticated artist who enjoins us to revel in his paintings and be happy, for through happiness do we understand the world better.” Andrew Lambeth 2009.
In the last two decades Ramiro Fernandez Saus has become one of the most well known Spanish artists of his generation. In 2005 he was given a retrospective at the Museum of Sabadell and his works are in the collections of the Reine Sofia in Madrid, and the Albertina Museum in Vienna. In 2007 he had a solo exhibition at the Naughton Gallery, Queen’s University, Belfast. In 2009 a series of works based on the Opera House were exhibited at Glynedbourne.
A limited edition of two new etchings will be included in the exhibition and one new sculpture.