LYNETTE NYMAN, MINNEAPOLIS INSTITUTE OF ARTS, (612) 870-3173; LNYMAN@ARTSMIA.ORG
TAMMY PLESHEK, MINNEAPOLIS INSTITUTE OF ARTS, (612) 870-3171; TPLESHEK@ARTSMIA.ORG
Print Quality Images Available Online: http://www.artsmia.org/press
MINNESOTA ARTISTS EXHIBITION PROGRAM PRESENTS
NEW WORK BY SPANISH/FRENCH PAINTER FREDDY MUÑOZ
“Freddy Muñoz: Paintings 2002–2006”
Opens September 1 at the MIA
Minneapolis, August 15, 2006—A storied career in art, marked by decades of studying, creating, exhibiting, and teaching on three continents, culminates in “Freddy Muñoz: Paintings 2002–2006,” a Minnesota Artists Exhibition Program (MAEP) show featuring new paintings by Freddy Muñoz. Opening September 1 in the Minnesota Artists Galleries in the new Target Wing, the exhibition comprises ten large (up to 9 feet by 13 feet) acrylic paintings on unstretched canvas, and several smaller paintings, and will remain on view through October 29.
Free public events include an opening night reception on Thursday, August 31, at 7 P.M., an artist’s talk on Thursday, September 7, at 7 P.M., and a critics’ trialogue, featuring Cecilia Aldarondo, on September 14, at 7 P.M.
Born in the 1930s in colonial Algeria to a Spanish father and a French mother, Muñoz now works in his Minneapolis studio, advancing his signature themes and constantly evolving his technique to increasingly greater achievement. His new paintings are natural outgrowths of work began in Mexico more than a decade ago, focusing on the theme of “apocalypse.”
For example, in Spirit and the Flesh (2002) and Monkey (2003–5), he uses the symbols of live animals and carcasses of meat to evoke the apocalypse theme. Muñoz’s carcass paintings bring to mind the imagery of twentieth-century Russian painter Chaim Soutine, whom Muñoz calls “a formidable painter.” Other great painters he reveres are Diego Velásquez, Francisco de Goya, Pablo Picasso, and Mark Rothko. While it is tempting to invoke Francis Bacon, Muñoz says he does not feel close to the British painter.
His most recent paintings with an apocalypse theme are more abstract and even infused with some humor. They employ the repeating visual symbol of the rope net (“filet” in French, thus The Series of Filet), which links these works and provides a formal element to his compositions. Muñoz prefers to discuss his work in formal, technical terms, rather than belaboring its themes with “artspeak.” He talks about paint and canvas, line and shape, tools, brushwork, composition, and color. “First of all, what I am doing is making a painting,” he says, paraphrasing Willem de Kooning, whom he greatly admires.
How he makes a painting is innovative and visceral. Muñoz hangs huge canvases on a studio wall, approaches them carrying vats of thick acrylic paint, and wields strange brushes and tools that he makes of sisal threads, nylon rope, sticks, and twine. In effect, he paints his nets using the same materials that make up an actual net. He enjoys the smell of the paint and the fibers, and he loves the physical action of the brushstrokes that result in marks resembling hay.
In addition to the nets, other repeating forms in his most recent work on view include reproduced images of Giotto-like putti and a pink barnyard pig. They are what they are, and viewers are invited to bring their own interpretations.
The Minnesota Artists Exhibition Program (MAEP) is made possible by a generous grant from the Jerome Foundation.
About the Minneapolis Institute of Art
The Minneapolis Institute of Art (MIA), home to one of the finest encyclopedic art collections in the country, houses nearly 100,000 works of art representing more than 5,000 years of world history. Highlights of the permanent collection include European masterworks by Rembrandt van Rijn, Nicolas Poussin, and Vincent van Gogh, as well as internationally significant collections of Asian art, decorative arts, Modernism, photographs, and African and Native American art.
General admission is always free. Some special exhibitions have a nominal admission fee. Museum hours: Sunday, 11 A.M.–5 P.M.; Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday, 10 A.M.–5 P.M.; Thursday, 10 A.M.–9 P.M.; Closed Monday. For additional information, call (612) 870-3131 or visit www.artsmia.org.
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