“Divergent Illusions,” an exhibition of paintings and sculpture by an acknowledged master and four highly accomplished mid-career artists from five countries, will open at ArtSpace/Virginia Miller Galleries with a reception from 6-10 p.m. Friday, Nov. 6th.
“Each of these artists offers the sort of unique, personal statement that I am constantly seeking in the art that I choose to exhibit,” said Virginia Miller, owner and director of Greater Miami’s longest-established contemporary fine art gallery, now in its 42nd year.
Artists selected by Miller for the show include Michael Roque Collins, an American painter; Michelle Concepción, a Puerto Rican working in Europe; Carlos Garcia de la Nuez, a Cuban artist working in Mexico; the late Armando Morales, a major Nicaraguan painter; Mario Segundo Pérez, an artist from Argentina; and Richard Taylor, an American sculptor.
Roque Collins’ utopian and dystopian subject matter, rendered in his heavily impastoed canvases, were last shown in the gallery in his 1999 one-person exhibition, “Gardens of Terrible Beauty.” Along with participating in numerous group exhibitions, he has held more than three dozen solo shows in prestigious museums and galleries in Cuba, Germany, and Peru as well as this country. His list of awards is longer than most artist’s biographies.
Concepción’s dreamy abstractions have been included in a number of the gallery’s solo and group exhibitions, notably the gallery’s spectacular one-person show of her paintings in 2008, “Volver: Recent Paintings,” and in such group exhibitions as “Five Abstract Visions” in 2008 and “Joyas Latinoamericanas” in 2009. Sometimes described as “visual meditations,” her flat canvases present uncanny illusions of depth and texture that leave other artists baffled.
Garcia, a member of the renowned 1980s generation of Cuban artists whose works subtly criticized the Castro regime, is considered the founder of Cuba’s historical “4 X 4” group, an important collective of abstract artists in the early 1980s. Miller included several of his paintings in her gallery’s historic 2013 exhibition, “The Silent Shout: Voices in Cuban Abstraction 1950-2013,” and in the following year, “Panoply: Paintings, Photographs and Sculpture.”
Considered one of the most important Nicaraguan artists, the late Armando Morales was awarded the Joachin Diaz Del Villar award at the Second Spanish-American Biennial in Havana in 1954, a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1958, “Best Latin American Artist” at the 5th São Paulo Biennial in 1959, a first prize in the Art of America and Spain competition in Madrid in 1963, and numerous other honors. Along with being widely exhibited in leading galleries and major museums, such as the Museo de Arte Contemporaneo and the the Rufino Tamayo Museum in Mexico City, the Museu de Arte Contemporanea de Universidade de Sao Paulo in Brazil, and the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes in Buenos Aires, his paintings are in numerous stellar collections, including those of the Museum of Modern Art in New York; the Art Museum of the Americas, Washington, D.C.; Harvard University Art Museums; the Saatchi Collection in London; and the Museum of Latin American Art in Long Beach, California.
The magic realism of Pérez has won the artist such international honors as the Cecilia Grierson Award at the Salón Nacional de Pintura in La Plata in1992; the Marco A. Roca Award at the Salón Pro Arte, Córdoba, also in 1992; and the first prize in the LXXXVIII National Salon of Painting in Buenos Aires in 1999. Recipient of a Pollock-Krasner Foundation grant, one of his most recent honors was to be curated into the national exhibition, “200 Years-200 Masters of Argentine Art” commemorating the nation’s bicentennial. His work often features tiny figures in immense landscapes and uniquely impastoed background. His work is regularly featured by such leading auction houses as Christie’s and Sotheby’s in New York and Leslie Hindman Auctioneers in Chicago.
Monumental outdoor sculptures by Taylor may be found at the Milwaukee Public Library and the Milwaukee Youth Arts Center, Wisconsin; Hardy Ivy Park in Atlanta, Georgia; City of East Lansing, Michigan; City Park in Beaverton, Oregon; the City of Dowagiac, Michigan; collection of the State of Wisconsin; Urban Ecology Center, Milwaukee, Wisconsin; and Southwestern Illinois College, Belleville, Illinois. His work is included in such major collections as those of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, Nieman Marcus, Visa, General Electric Medical Systems, Rockwell International, Rouse Properties in New York City, and Hewlett-Packard. Taylor feels that his works reflect his interest in “the cadences, rhythms, and syncopations of music and poetry.”
“Divergent Illusions” will be exhibited through February 2016 at ArtSpace/Virginia Miller Galleries. Located at 169 Madeira Avenue in downtown Coral Gables, Florida, gallery hours are 11 to 6 Tuesday-Friday and by appointment.