Manuel Miranda

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Manuel Miranda
McCallen, Texas - United States

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ABOUT THE ARTIST

For over 30 years Manuel Miranda has been creating highly imaginative art that draws from his background in music, literature, and illustration. Born in Mexico City in 1935, Miranda moved to the Rio Grande Valley in 2000, bringing with him the playful color and lyrical line of his paintings, drawings, and sculptures. The BMFA exhibition showcases over 70 works spanning almost three decades, allowing the viewer to revel in the whimsy and universality of his expressive animals and psychologically insightful figures.

There is a depth to these works that may not be immediately apparent, because the bright colors and childlike creatures seem so light-hearted. Miranda seeks, in fact, to express universal human traits-serious as well as humorous. He uses the human characteristics of animals, their anthropomorphic qualities; beasts look like humans and vice versa. Humans and animals, the artist says, are "in an ironic relationship". In other words, the bravado and drama of the bullfighter and the bull are interchangeable.

Miranda grew up in Mexico City just three blocks from a bullfighting ring. The public could enter the arena for free after the fights and the young artist went to watch, fascinated, by these huge animals and their handlers. Ancient art forms and indigenous traditions of Mexico find unique expression in the primitive nature of Miranda's bulls. He grew up during a time in Mexico when artists were rediscovering the indigenous arts as a major inspiration, often rejecting easel painting and European traditions in their rebellion.

Miranda credits the influences of both his native Mexico and Europe. It was through his lifelong love of books and antiquities that he studied the major European art movements. Add music to this cosmopolitan mix with the artist's bold brush stroke and the result is a unique vision. In the end, the artist's style reflects a deep understanding of human nature, an understanding tinged with irony and no small amount of humor and affection.


ARTIST STATEMENT

My work explores the relationship between nonverbal communication and the psyche. I pay special attention to how facial expressions and gestures communicate our emotional states. The intention is to delve into the complexity of the human mind as it relates to human interaction, personality, and role-playing. Inspiration comes from the day-to-day observation of the people around me. My characters are based on the reality of our society but they exist outside of it. They represent an interpretation of our condition.

I portray the human mind in a fictional reality where there exist no obstacles to express emotion. Oftentimes, we restrict ourselves from using certain gestures because we are afraid of negative criticism. My fictional characters, animals, and composite creatures express themselves without self-imposed psychological restrictions. They present the raw nature of gesture and the psyche that triggers it. Characters often behave in ways that are not idyllic but neither does our world. There is suffering, despair, isolation, but then there is also joy, humor and honesty. The vastness of our consciousness requires a lot of reflection on our part. A thorough investigation of the nature of the human character is necessary.

There are very few signs of contemporary culture in my work. This is because I approach the topic of the psyche from a universal perspective, one that emphasizes the universal qualities of man. In addition, this perspective goes as far as deliberately blurring the boundary that separates man from animal. Animals behave humanly and humans behave in animal-like ways. Both are intimately tied as if they belonged to the same family. The intention is to relate both by highlighting the presence of the human psyche as a universal force that permeates every aspect of our existence.

Spontaneity is an important aspect of my work. I start each composition by randomly placing color, line, and shape on the surface and letting those elements serve as guides. There is no preconceived plan regarding the nature of the composition. Every aspect of a painting, from facial expressions, figures, recognizable objects, backgrounds to scale and color palette develops as I paint. The goal is to let the imagination take over the process and allow the mind to express itself through a stream of consciousness approach.


EDUCATION & REPRESENTATION


1935  Born in Mexico City
1967  Studied Spanish Literature, National Autonomous University of Mexico
1981-2000  Worked for acclaimed cultural newspapers and magazines,
           Mexico City
2000  Lives and works in McAllen, TX
2011  Represented by Koelsch Gallery, Houston, TX
2012  Represented by Udinotti Gallery, Scottsdale, AZ



EXHIBITIONS:

2012  Selected solo exhibitions
           Outgoing Animals. South Texas College Technology Campus, McAllen, TX
2011  Nearly Human. Nearly Animal, Koelsch Gallery, Houston, TX
2010  Alianzas (Alliances), Galeria 409, Brownsville, TX
           The Art of Manuel Miranda: A Retrospective, Upper Valley Art League,
           Mission, TX
           Encuentros (Encounters), Brownsville Museum of Fine Art, Brownsville, TX
2009  Metáforas (Metaphors), Manichaus Modern Art Space, McAllen, TX
2002  Manuel Miranda in Seguin, Art in Process Gallery and Studio, Seguin, TX
           Women, City Theatre, Reynosa, Mexico
1995  The Pictorial Work of Manuel Miranda, Argentum Gallery, Mexico City
1991  The Art of Manuel Miranda, Collective Transportation System's Subway
           Station, Mexico City
           Drawings, Galeria del Bosque Casa del Lago, Mexico City
           Bestiary, Chopo Museum, Mexico City