Terri Ramirez’s equine creatures gallop through the Asylum Gallery in the HQ complex, at 1719 25th Street. Together, her 15 mixed-media pieces make up Terrestrial Spirit, until November 20. The artist deems them paintings, but they could be sculptures, born of the elements of the earth.
“Trojan Horse” offers a bevy of textures, layered on a roughed-up masonite base (in some spots, it still peeks through a thin wash of color). Thick, gooey layers of oils are applied and hit with a belt sander. The resulting nooks, crannies, cracks and crevices present an aged surface bathed in a patina of crimson, deep blue and purple. But there’s more within that colorful palette base. Ramirez plies it with treasures of the earth: sand, wood, bark and little pieces of bone, fossils dug up from an undisclosed location. Coated with paint, some kind of organic material—sisal, raffia or even alfalfa—has dried into little sticky-looking web pools.
The artist has seamlessly melded these materials into a cohesive creature, one related to a wild, ghost-like stallion who, as he gallops across the earth, absorbs its elements and incorporates them into a physical presence. It’s a pretty wild vision, but the textures really make you want to close your eyes and do the unthinkable in a gallery: pet the creature and learn what it feels like. In “Earth Angel,” more thickly applied paint contains several shards of broken clay pots. Notably, the result avoids the jutting edges of Julian Schnabel’s famed broken-plate paintings; the slick little irregular pieces float to the top, never quite breaking the surface in this horse’s wild mane. For more information, call (916) 451-5569.