Hyperrealistic Paintings of Young People Who Are Hiding Something

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They may be an gorgeous to look at, but the hyperrealistic paintings that have been so trendy lately can tend to substitute technical skill for real artistic inspiration. That’s why we’re so taken with the work of Jeff Ramirez, a Los Angeles-based artist whose hyperrealistic paintings double as mini-mysteries. Ramirez often depicts his young subjects — most appear to be in their teens or 20s — with their faces obscured: Two friends wear sheets over their heads, ghost-style, with sunglasses over them; a girl disappears into her big, puffy jacket; a young woman stares defiantly out at us, a bandanna covering her nose and mouth. In an interview with Arrested Motion, the artist explained that this approach is a response to digital photography and social networking, which have created and distributed so many supposedly candid photographs that lack what he calls an “emotional truth.” Meet Ramirez’s mysterious subjects and imagine what they’re hiding — or what they’re hiding from — in our gallery after the jump.

Jeff Ramirez, All of a Sudden, I Miss Everyone, 2011, oil on wood panel, 14” x 14″ [Spotted via My Modern Met]

Jeff Ramirez, Worry About It Later, 2011, oil on wood panel, 30” x 24″

Jeff Ramirez, They’re Coming to Take Me Away, 2011, oil on wood panel, 16” x 20″

Jeff Ramirez, A Deal with the First Devil You Came Across, 2011, oil on wood panel, 12” x 16″

Jeff Ramirez, For a Moment, Nothing Happened, 2011, oil on wood panel, 24” x 24″

Jeff Ramirez, Can I Just, 2010, oil on wood panel, 20” x 26″

Jeff Ramirez, Power, 2010, oil on wood panel, 30” x 30”

Jeff Ramirez, Pink Godzilla, 2011, oil on wood panel, 12” x 16″

Jeff Ramirez, Life’s Been Great, 2011, oil on wood panel, 12” x 18″

Jeff Ramirez, Sissy Spacek, 2011, oil on wood panel, 18” x 24″