Oscar Muñoz: Re/trato

  • Oct 13, 2018 – Dec 23, 2018
  • The Leah Louise B. Tannenbaum Gallery
Oscar Muñoz, "Re/trato" (still), 2003, single-channel video, no sound,
running time: 28 mins. Courtesy of the artist and Sicardi | Ayers |
Bacino Gallery, Houston, Texas.

Oscar Muñoz’s video Re/trato shows the artist painting a self-portrait with water. The portrait, however, evaporates and vanishes as the overhead sun and the hot pavement on which Muñoz draws absorbs the water. Thus, the artist is never able to completely finish it. Muñoz’s use of water aligns perfectly with the video’s title—“retrato” in Spanish means portrait and “re-trato” means to try again or re-try. Muñoz repeats the drawing process over and over again to evoke concepts like memory, the passing of time, flux, and loss. The exercise also compels the viewer to remember and reconstruct the portrait endlessly.

Muñoz is known for his use of unconventional and ephemeral materials to create his artworks. Since the early 1980s, he has developed special techniques to produce images that reveal themselves as a kind of counterpoint to photography and the “decisive moment” it once claimed to capture.

Born in Popayán, Colombia, Oscar Muñoz studied art at the Escuela de Bellas Artes in Cali, Colombia, in the 1970s. Because he employs many different media—photography, printmaking, drawing, installation, video and sculpture—his work defies systematic classification and blurs the boundaries between artistic disciplines. In 2006, he founded a cultural center and art residency program in Cali called Lugar a Dudas (Space for Doubts), a gathering site for young artists to work through ideas and to participate in dialogues about art and politics.

Organized by Elaine D. Gustafson, Curator of Collections.

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