Press

Articles, Press Releases etc.

Antonio Muniz: “Metamorphosis” at Couturier Gallery

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By Eve Wood
Nov 2012

“Chance, spontaneity and ambiguity are all phenomena that can be difficult to manifest in visual terms, creating the “experience” of color, movement and line rather than simply repeating stale and predictable forms. Antonio Muniz’s first solo exhibition at Couturier Gallery utilizes these qualities to mesmerizing effect. Working in the ancient technique called “fumage,” which involves creating images with smoke, and inspired by the works of Wolfgang Paalen, Muniz was initially drawn to the technique for its mysterious, sensual quality, and its constant changeability, allowing for moments of chance, multi-dimensionality and surprise within the controlled space of the picture plane. Works like In the Mist of the Playground (2012) are suffused with playful whimsy, yet betray elements of deeper elegance and mystical awakening as the paint undulates and recedes simultaneously in a strange perceptual dance. Muniz’ working methodology involves a layering process, first using a Tiki light which emits the smoke along the canvas, then applying areas of oil paint and lastly going back in with the smoke to drawn the imagery together. This lengthy process exemplifies not only Muniz’ commitment to form, but to the ineffable moment of chance that infuses each of these luminous paintings.”

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ANTONIO MUNIZ on ArtScene, by Bill Lasarow.

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By Bill Lasarow
October 2012

“Fumage was among the arsenal of techniques used in classic Surrealism to help get the juices of the sub-conscious mind going. The random imprint of smoke from a combustible object such as a candle would be applied to a painting surface so the artist could let their imagination roam. Like Jean Arp’s dropped strings, Max Ernst’s frottage, or the automatism of André Masson, fumage offers a random but distinct starting point. Historically these techniques are firmly rooted in Dada and Surrealism; aesthetically they enabled artists to focus on the process of the interplay between painting and imagination free from the pre-planned image. As earlier formal innovations gave artists permission to bring painting back to the two-dimensional surface, these innovations represented the decisive overturning of a pictorial hierarchy that the Impressionists and Symbolists had only begun.”

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State of The Art: LA

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By Eva Recinos

“If you’re a Surrealist art fan, you’re bound to like the sometimes frightening, beautifully frenetic work of Chihuahua-born, Los Angeles native Antonio Muñiz. On his website, he asks that viewers open their minds and look at his work with “child-like imagination”. Head to the opening reception on September 15th at 6:00 p.m. and lose yourself in the awesome strangeness of Surrealism.”

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Antonio Muniz: Metamorphosis

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“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.”

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Couturier Gallery Press Release “Metamorphosis”

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By Couturier Gallery
Press Release
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 twice.

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.

For further information and/or press photos, please contact the gallery www.couturiergallery.com or telephone 323-933-5557.


Breaking With Tradition: This Artweek.LA (September 10, 2012)

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By Bill Bush
September 11, 2012

“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.”

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