Patrick McGrath Muñíz:
Francis & Co.
Through November 23rd, 2019
Patrick McGrath Muñíz, The Quarter Ride, oil and gold leaf on canvas, 24” x 30”CLICK FOR INQUIRY
Celebrating 10 Years with Group Exhibition & New Artists
EVOKE Contemporary celebrates its tenth anniversary this year as an art gallery committed to showcasing the best of emerging and established artists working in contemporary realism, fostering collector-artist relationships, and cultivating unique art experiences. From its first location on Lincoln Avenue to his current, modern gallery space in the Railyard Art District, EVOKE is one of Santa Fe’s leading contemporary art galleries offering work by Louisa McElwain, Kent Williams, Jeremy Mann and other prominent artists from across the country and around the world.
EVOKE’s newly represented artists include:
Seth Armstrong, Christopher Benson, Christopher Burk, Gregory Ferrand, Ester Currini and Michael Scott
Patrick McGrath Muñíz processes his reality with dense and evocative worlds:
By Jana Gottshalk (October 23rd)
I read somewhere that the average person spends roughly five seconds looking at a piece of art in galleries and museums. The Louvre, for example, reports that the average time visitors spend looking at DaVinci's "Mona Lisa" clocks in at a meager 15 seconds, and that's generally agreed to be one of the most famous artworks on the planet. But if you spend only five seconds or even five minutes with a piece by Patrick McGrath Muñiz, you'll be selling yourself short. The more you stand with his work, the more you see. And the more you see, the more you start to pick up on Muñiz's deep dive into current events, social and political situations and his own personal experiences.
Muñiz is originally from Puerto Rico. Growing up on an island, he could actually see the visual evidence of climate change firsthand. He saw the waterline rising, experienced hurricanes, both in Puerto Rico and his current home of Houston, Texas; he felt the loss of more than one home and his studio, and he pulls from these experiences for his work. Simultaneously, he approaches issues, such as the border crisis and the American fast food epidemic, with caution, using their imagery in an act of empathy and a tool for processing.
Muñiz's early work leaned primarily toward the figurative during his time as an undergraduate at Escuela de Artes Plásticas y Diseño in San Juan. By 2005, during his graduate years at Savannah College of Art and Design in Georgia, he took a neo-colonial turn, exploring colonial themes paired with pop consumerism. He also began to include the iconic imagery of saints, though while these are often meant to foster feelings of hope and light, Muñiz believes they come with a lot of baggage. He doesn't use the Canon to inspire good feelings; he displays them surrounded by intangible concepts like ignorance alongside more concrete topics such as hopeless children, refugees and people taking selfies. And though Muñiz says he doesn't identify as a political artist, his work almost exclusively deals with political issues.
He uses his practice to process what is happening in the world around him. Muñiz tells SFR he is skeptical of art as an agent of change, but it seems impossible that the bulk of his pieces aren't or won't be starting some serious conversations. Take "The Disembarkment," a piece from 2019 that finds a veritable who's-who of colonizers greeting a procession of Indigenous people on a seashore. A bulldozer looms in the background as Teddy Roosevelt, astride a white horse, American flag in hand, joins with an armed modern-day soldier, Christopher Columbus, a selfie-taking child in a Mickey Mouse mask and others; jaguars loom, nearly out of frame, and a rainbow splashes across the background in stark contrast to the violent undertones of the human subjects. There is much to process, and though its intent seems clear, the piece is dense with symbolism both subtle and not.
And that's just one of many. Much of his newer work follows this trend of density. His art, he says, is a mindful process meant to induce questions. That, he believes, is a pivotal role for any artist; Muñiz wants to participate in the conversation while acknowledging his limitations, knowing he can come from a place of empathy. This includes humor, though Muniz says the comedy was more prevalent in the past. But now? "The joke," he says, "isn't funny anymore."
Still, he clings to optimism. In his artist's statement, Muñiz writes,
"In June, 2018, my son Francis was born. Perhaps it is human nature to seek light in the darkness, to hold on to hope, to evolve and aspire to become an instrument for positive change by starting a constructive dialogue."
Perhaps he is trying to convince himself as much as he is the viewer. We often create factious and artificial constructs. An artist that happens to be female will always be known as a "woman artist." People of color experience similar constraints. As such, defining Muñiz as a political artist is almost like backing him into a corner and giving the viewer a preconceived notion. I urge you to experience this show with openness. Muñiz's emotional intelligence is balanced by a superior artistic ability and a style that, while reminiscent of the old masters, is undoubtedly contemporary.
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Alice Leora Briggs:
Recent donation to the Library of Congress of somberly enthralling images by Texas artist Alice Leora Briggs (b. 1953). Her 2015-2016 portfolio of 12 woodcuts with chine collé, called The Room.
Through a Glass Darkly: The Room by Artist Alice Leora Briggs in Homage to Poet Mark Strand. September 24, 2019 by Anne Holmes
The following guest post is by Katherine Blood, curator of fine prints in the Library’s Prints and Photographs Division.
In our ongoing exploration of intersections between art and poetry in the Library’s graphic art collections, I’d like to share a fascinating, recent donation of somberly enthralling images by Texas artist Alice Leora Briggs (b. 1953). Her 2015-2016 portfolio of 12 woodcuts with chine collé, called The Room, was inspired by the eponymous poem by former Poet Laureate Mark Strand (1934-2014) with whom she had a longstanding correspondence beginning in the early 1990s. Each woodcut is accompanied by a line from Strand’s poem, which begins:
"It is an old story, the way it happens
sometimes in winter, sometimes not.
The listener falls to sleep,
the doors to the closets of his unhappiness open"
Briggs’ layered, hallucinatory imagery is at once highly specific and purposefully open-ended. She explains: “Strand leaves the front and back doors of The Room wide open. I hope my woodcuts offer this same freedom for viewers to wander through and explore these spaces on their own terms.”
Katherine Blood thanks artist Alice Leora Briggs and Flatbed Press master printer/director Katherine Brimberry for generously answering a barrage of questions during her research and toward preparing this post. Many thanks also to Jill and Stephen Wilkinson for gifting The Room to the Library.
A fast and informative video describing the paths I've taken as an artist to pursue my love of analogue photography and homemade cameras, to illustrate the effects they have played upon my paintings. Created in 5 days (so I apologize for any.. .whatevers) and shown at the last two solo shows at Evoke Contemporary in Santa Fe, and the Galleria Piero Della Francesca in Arezzo, Italy, before I embark upon a new path of filmmaking while painting in private for myself (ie, without the pressures of deadlines, the only way to paint, and the most difficult to procure mentally.)
I hope you enjoy!
The actual large format prints of these images can be purchased through the galleries on my website store at www.redrabbit7.com/store and my greatest thanks to the Galleria Piero Della Francesca and Evoke Contemporary for allowing me to exhibit them as well as this film.
Please sit back and enjoy,
It's fast, and lots of info for ya.