As a metropolis located on a western coastline, the Los Angeles region occupies a marriage of the monolithic and expansive. The mountains running through it are visible from the majority of our windows, inherently the picture of stillness and solidity. For those familiar with them, it is understood that they also represent change and movement, the geological children of fault lines, continental shift, a ring of fire. Occasionally they speak in an abrupt and even ominous language. They send slides of rock, perhaps including a home or two, they channel sudden outbursts of flooding between steep slopes, and famously become incandescent with flame and smoke, altering the cityscape before resting again with a transformed charcoal skin. Primarily, the mountains appear steady and fixed, despite the understanding that they are the product of gradual movement, it is as though sheer scale and presence locks them down simultaneously. Over the mountains towards the east lie vast tracts of desert, while the direction of sunset stretches into the ocean horizon, and each has its own expanse of movement to observe. The natural, monumental character of the region speaks of a scale of time that is practically beyond human sense, but is completely characterized by change, entropy and shift.
Ramone Muñoz has an uncanny capacity for capturing in his paintings evidence of this particularly monolithic, shifting and weathering face in time. His paintings are clearly abstract and inviting for their interplay of earthen colors, overlapping softness and edge, light and dark. They reveal the artist’s expressed fascination with geology, time, and decay. He finds a fascinating parallel between the grand scale of eroding topography and the extent to which buildings, especially enhanced in archaeological monuments, eventually crumble and collapse.
In 2009 the artist presented a series of paintings that were inspired by the Icelandic Towers of Vik, capturing elements of this geologic time, the sharp presence of rock formations and the attrition of the expansive sea. In a previous exhibit several years prior entitled Shift Series, we find in the continuum of his work something akin to the private research journals of time traveler. An artist whose eye has developed a keen and manifestly human response to the sublimated elements that comprise the marriage of form and change.
Muñoz is also noted for what one could call the microcosmic scale in his work. As with the mountains, one sees a particular vantage from across the city, and another walking in their midst, stopping to look into grit of the soil and the ecology of the chaparral. His canvases possess another layer to observe in their surfaces, revealing a meditative, carefully worked process that really underlines the depth of meaning he finds at the heart of his inquiry. Far beyond a brush with beauty, the more prominent features and monuments of natural marvel and human superstructure are well known for their capacity to become sacrosanct destinations for contemplation. Such landmarks are magnets for meaning, reverie, and ways to consider mortality and permanence, and in the artist’s response and also his workmanship we are transported to an essentially novel human activity.