BY NANCY MOYER
Walk into Manuel Zamudio’s world.
Currently on display at Space16th in McAllen, oil paintings reflect the boldly chromatic Pop style that we associate with his work. The unerring illusionistic technique thoughtfully describes his imaginative imagery.
For me, the small and remarkable drawings are the best part of the show. Zamudio’s beautiful, — but ambiguous — ink technique conveys the soft tones of graphite in his depictions of an imaginary future society. Twenty-nine works take viewers on allegorical adventure into the future.
“Allegories” is a metaphorical adventure about human enlightenment. Across his picture planes, giant beings of the future earth, filled with a fresh curiosity of life, are on a constant search to figure out what it all means.
“I feel that my work is a reflection of the human situation,” Zamudio said, “in a fun, different, colorful way. I want it to have its own creativity and mystery that we all on earth share; it’s the same mystery that we have of our own creation and being.”
His giant beings have mysteriously appeared on earth, possessing a Christ-like innocence with no recollection of their origin, much like we were as children. This innocence is subconsciously conveyed through the basic configuration of children’s pre-schematic and schematic drawing stages, albeit much more complex. Children at this age are searching for meaning, as are the giant beings who search through relics of bygone humanity. Books, houses, the natural world — what are these things?
Zamudio wants to convey a sense of mystery. What do his images mean? His characters are like anthropologists searching for storylines. The artist’s future vision shows who we already are, although in his scenario, humanity was wiped out through climate change. The art works are storylines for his allegories.
The paintings and drawings need to be read by the viewer, but sometimes this is no simple task. They are filled with cultural references and symbolism, and understanding symbols always relies on a certain level of common knowledge.
In the dominant painting, “Allegories,” we catch a giant being having an “Aha” moment. His upper portion contains a third eye, but above that is another eye opening in what appears to be an egg — the birth of an idea? He tosses a book which appears to be about history. Eggs as containers of ideas/information/more also appear elsewhere in the exhibit. The blending of imaginative ideas with his assured technique allow undistracted attention to the visual information. “The Book of Breakfast” is hilarious.