Sicardi Gallery is pleased to present Manuel Espinosa: Paintings and Works on Paper, 1960s and 1970s. The exhibition is the Argentine modernist’s second solo exhibition in the United States, and it features Espinosa’s vibrant abstract paintings in oil and acrylic as well as his works on paper from his most prolific period of experimentation and creative production. The show opens on Thursday, April 4, with a cocktail reception from 6 to 8 pm.
Espinosa (1912-2006) was a founding member of the Asociación de Arte Concreto-Invención (AACI), which also included artists Tomás Maldonado, Alfredo Hlito, and Raúl Lozza. Founded in 1945, the group sought to develop a visual language for a post-war, industrial world. Their work broke from the figurative tradition, focusing instead upon geometric elements and color. “The artistic era of the representational fiction has reached its end,” they proclaimed in a 1946 manifesto.
After the group dissolved, Espinosa’s work continued to resonate with concrete art being made across international boundaries in the 1950s and 1960s; in those decades, he traveled repeatedly to Europe, where he met members of the De Stijl movement and artists in the Italian groups Movimento di Arte Concreta and Forma. During this period, he embraced an idea proposed by Swiss architect Max Bill, who believed that the practice of creating variations upon a theme could offer a systematic and precise understanding of a particular form. In his work of the 1960s and 1970s, Espinosa arranged squares and circles in serial patterns in his paintings and drawings. These variations investigate subtle effects of space and color, and explore optical sensations of depth and movement.
Between 1963 and 1967, Espinosa’s work appeared in all the major exhibitions of non-figurative painting organized by art critic Jorge Romero Brest. His paintings and works on paper were also shown in Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Uruguay, and Venezuela. The artist’s first solo exhibition in the United States was at Sicardi Gallery in 2010.
The exhibition coincides with the release of a book of Espinosa’s work, to be published by Colección Manuel Espinosa in April. With a prologue by Tomás Maldonado, the limited edition book also includes essays by Nelly Perazzo, María Teresa Constantin, and Cristina Rossi, and will be released on April 11th at 7 pm at Museo de Arte Moderno de la Ciudad de Buenos Aires (MAMBA).
Born in Buenos Aires, Espinosa studied Fine Arts at the Escuela Superior de Bellas Artes in Buenos Aires. His work is included in collections of the Museo de Arte Moderno, the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, and the Fondo Nacional de las Artes, all in Buenos Aires; the Museo de Arte Contemporaneo de Caracas Sofía Imber, Caracas; the Patricia Phelps de Cisneros Collection, New York and Caracas; the Blanton Museum of Art, Austin; and the Museum of Art at the Rhode Island School of Design, Providence. In 2010, Sicardi Gallery became the sole representative in the United States of the artist’s estate.