I have been a big fan of Elsa Muñoz ever since I first saw her work some years ago. Last Friday, I previewed her new exhibition titled “Transience” as she makes her debut with Zygman Voss Gallery in River North, Chicago. After a successful exhibition at the National Museum of Mexican Art (2011) followed by a solo show at former Dubhe Carreno Gallery (2012), Elsa emerges from a season of quietness and intense production by presenting an outstanding exhibition not to be missed this Spring.
Transience features new landscapes and figurative realistic works simultaneously. Elsa’s dramatic interpretations using the chiaroscuro technique suggest a sense of psychological turbulence (night scenes) while enchanting us with a touch of quiet serenity, mystery and hope. Personally, I feel that her current work is introspective in nature and speaks about change. Not the change that results from sudden, unexpected situations but rather, the one that comes along in the most passive of moments. Whether contemplating the seashore, along a narrow path in the heavy woods or even in the midst of a forest fire, Elsa’s mysterious night scenes project a constant state of personal reflection and respect for the inevitability of life’s transforming moments. Besides the landscape works, Elsa’s figurative paintings in the exhibition are exquisite conversations with our very own humanity. The subject, usually a young woman, refuses to be identified only passing by quietly, reverently and pensive. It is that mystery of presence and strangeness of place that I love about Elsa’s new body of work. I sensed no fear in these dark works, rather, a strange peaceful awareness that life is about quiet encounters and solemn conspicuous moments of change.
Perhaps, these paintings have a completely different meaning for Elsa. But for me, I left the exhibition understanding more about her, myself and humanity as a whole. In that sense, those were the best moments of that day, not knowing that I was going to be confronted with truth disguised in the brushstrokes of art. In a time when a lot of the art I encounter is completely separated from my own life experience, I welcome moments like this and I enjoy them to the core for they are rare engagements.
Zygman Voss Gallery
Exhibition Runs: April 30 – June 1
For more information, visit the gallery website: