New York, March 2011 – An exhibition of new work by internationally recognized artist Guillermo Muñoz Vera will be on view at Forum Gallery from April 14 through May 28, 2011. With extraordinary imagination, insightful subtlety, and remarkable precision, The Undiscovered World features 20 new paintings that depict the lives and exploits of early European explorers at the advent of world discovery. A fully illustrated catalogue will accompany the exhibition.
The Undiscovered World represents a monumental achievement for the Chilean-born Muñoz Vera. Taking the viewer back to a time when many of the world’s oceans had yet to be crossed, the artist presents the world of explorers who set out to find new lands. The viewer enters a poetic world of tall ships, maps with uncharted territory, and early navigational tools that shows humanity at its most inquisitive, brave and persevering.
The exhibition title is based on the term Terra Australis Incognita which was employed in ancient Greece to designate unknown territories south of the ancient world. The strength of the human spirit of discovery is celebrated as the depth, passion and achievement of the Old Masters is recalled.
“Guillermo Muñoz Vera epitomizes a mastery of a specific approach to the realistic conception of observed, detailed, precise renditions of people, places, and things…” notes Edward Sullivan, professor of Art History, New York University, writing about Muñoz Vera in an essay that accompanied the artist’s retrospective exhibition in Madrid in 2000.
Muñoz Vera writes that The Undiscovered World “proposes a journey through images that pose an invitation to reinterpret past events, to reread our common history − that chart drafted by the first European sailors on their way to the Mar del Zur which marked the beginning of globalization long before Columbus’s first trip.”
In Passing Through Cape Horn, 2010, and The Tempest, 2010, Muñoz Vera depicts ships at the time of Christopher Columbus in heavy seas and underscores just how overwhelming such journeys could be. A young man looks out at the viewer in The Cartographer, 2010. In his period dress, he is a mapmaker at a time when so many questions about geography were unanswered. Several works, including Colonial Still Life in Araucania, 2010, evoke the explorers’ discovery of mineral deposits and new biological species. From alchemy and astronomy to cartography and naval science, early explorers were immeasurably talented combining the skills of scientists and sailors, as well as artists and writers.
Born in Concepción, Chile, in 1956, Muñoz Vera studied at the Universidad de Chile in Santiago, at which he also taught in the Facultad de Bellas Artes prior to moving to Madrid in 1979, where he lives and works today. The subject of numerous international exhibitions over the years, Madrid’s Centro Cultural de la Villa presented a retrospective on his work in 2000. Recently he was honored with a commission to paint the portrait of Juan Carlos I, King of Spain.
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An opening reception for the artist will be held on Thursday, April 14 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at Forum Gallery at 730 Fifth Avenue at 57th Street.