Couturier Gallery is pleased to present “Antonio Muñiz: Metamorphosis,” the first solo exhibition for the Mexican born artist with the gallery. These fumage paintings, works on canvas and paper, are created from the evocative residue of smoke subsequently painted with a jewel-tone palette of subtly blended oils transforming the surfaces into rich and multi-dimensional planes of morphing shapes and figures. “Antonio Muñiz: Metamorphosis” will run from September 15 through October 20, 2012. The artist’s opening reception is Saturday, September 15, 6-8pm.
While studying the painter and theorist Wolfgang Paalen (1905, Vienna – 1959, Mexico) Antonio Muñiz became intrigued with fumage , a technique that Paalen created in 1936 and shared with his peers (including Salvador Dali). Muñiz related to the concept of smoke as a medium with ever transforming and enigmatic qualities which were a sharp contrast to his rigid and stilted life in Chihuahua, Mexico. The Los Angeles based artist, who holds a Bachelor’s Degree in architecture, found corporate life equally restrictive and began pursuing his creative freedom through painting inspired by Latin American surrealists such as Roberto Matta and others.
For Muñiz, the creative process has no beginning or end. As with all aspects of life, he believes that energy reverberates through the physical and sensory worlds and ties all experiences in time and space together without end. He explains how being receptive to these portals allows for the creative process to be ongoing:
I take the essence or vibration of the smoke and deconstruct the elements to give it form and capture its multi-dimensionality. During the journey, I encounter entities or beings that move between these worlds and find their way onto the canvas that provide new and deeper meanings to my art and constantly reveal new clues to further discoveries.
This form of transcendental art is at the root of many art movements and provides artists like Muñiz the ability to tap into underlying visual truths which speak to a broad audience. That, coupled with his remarkably subdued brushstrokes and inherent appreciation for form and beauty, provide a lush tableau of melded imagery. Within each work there are layer upon layer of morphic figures that seem to emerge and recede from view. This visual bantering with the painting is what Muñiz wants- for the viewer to revert to the purity of their child-like imaginations and see the possibilities and interactions that co-exist there, to extract from the abstract imagery a figurative narrative that may (or may not) be there. The play of spatial relationships between the visually disparate planes on the surface of the canvas and the metamorphosis of negative and positive space create visual illusions of imagery that shift continually. It makes it difficult to return to an area of a painting and see the same thing
Antonio Muñiz is a self-taught painter. His training as an architect at the New School of Architecture in San Diego as well as mentoring by the renowned Mexican painter Rodrigo Pimentel informed his talents. Muñiz has exhibited in his native Mexico as well as California.
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