Alfonso Barrera Muñiz is a Oaxaca-based multi-media artist. His images speak of the relationship of the human being with nature, the history of universal art, fantastic realism, horror films of the 80's and the images of the place he inhabits: Oaxaca. He uses mainly drawing with graphite and charcoal on paper, although he explores oil painting and printmaking. Barrera's last exhibition was held at the prestigious Instituto de Artes Gráficas de Oaxaca (IAGO) founded by Francisco Toledo in Oaxaca City.
"I am interested in capturing the most primal emotions of human nature and the relationship between those emotional energies and their immediate environments," Barerra says. "I am concerned with the gestural study of bodies and body‐language, and I also address the symbolism of the objects I represent in my art. On one hand, I consider the actions that influence our evolution, on the other, the unconscious acts that permeate our present and everyday life."
Mesoamerican Bestiary is a compilation of drawings that portray fantastic animals whose existence was a symbol of the divine, death and character. These pieces are inspired by pre-Hispanic ceramics and animals that have deep cultural significance in Mesoamerica. This is a series of drawings on paper made of charcoal, pastel and sanguine in 2020 in Oaxaca. Several editioned works will be on display was well.
The drawings are not quite representational, as the animals have human eyes in some way suggesting the spirit of such animals viewing through humanity or perhaps humanity viewing through the animal lens. They are also shrouded in smoke or mist, presenting a more ethereal being rather than a physical presence.
Frank Rose, Hecho a Mano’s Creative Conductor says, “this body of work is reminiscent of the concept of Tonas and Nahuales in Zapotec culture: animal spirits that are fused with the human and serve as protectors and teachers.”
The artist says, “Animals such as dogs, eagles, and jaguars, are very important for Mesoamerican peoples. Across many different cultures such as Aztec, Zapotec, and Maya, these animals represent spirits, teachers and guardians.”
“Hecho a Mano was founded with a distinct goal to promote contemporary artists in Oaxaca and we are thrilled to be able to show this unique body of work here,” says Gallerist Rose.
Alfonso Barrera: Mesoamerican Bestiary
On view through October 25, 2020