Ruiz-Healy Art, in collaboration with Blanca Berlín, Galería, Madrid, is pleased to present Straight from Spain: Photography by Isabel Muñoz and Juan Manuel Castro Prieto and in conjunction with Fotoseptiembre USA International Photography Festival, The exhibition will open September 4 with a reception 6:00 to 8:00 p.m.
Isabel Muñoz is entranced by dance, and her photographs of the body clothed, nude, and costumed, reverberate with motion. A master of the platinum print, which she uses to optimal effect to draw rich tonalities of shadow and light, Muñoz extends her depictions of wrestlers, monks, Flamenco dancers, and bullfighters towards a meditation on being in the world. Her grand theme is, quite literally, embodiment. Known for his cerebral compositions, Juan Manuel Castro Prieto has chronicled his travels through Peru, Ethiopia, and India with an acute attention to both cultural detail and landscape. Working in black and white, and recently, color inkjet prints, his oddly disquieting reveries occupy a bridge-space, hovering between documentation and introspection. Drawing upon tradition to express highly personal and idiosyncratic visions, both artists are acknowledged exemplars of Spanish photography today.
Born in 1951 in Barcelona, and living in Madrid since 1970, Muñoz studied at Fotocentro in Madrid, the School of Visual Studies, Rochester, N.Y., and the International Center of Photography in New York City, where she studied large format and traditional printing techniques. Her appreciation for dance derives from her own personal practice. Whether she photographs the body in motion or at rest, as young or old, Muñoz celebrates corporal vitality. Often, only hands are seen, a head is out of frame, or twirling fabric obscures the shot. This is not the body estranged, reduced to object, but something else—fleeting glances of movement observed by eyes in a body that also knows motion intimately: the dancer seeing the dance. Working primarily in black and white, and utilizing dramatic chiaroscuro, Muñoz’s tableaux are carefully constructed scenes that hint at story, while maintaining a decorum that celebrates architecture, especially interiors. This is a trait that she shares with Prieto, though unlike the works of her fellow countryman, her compositions serve to frame a sole or coupled subject, always central in importance.
Born in 1958 in Madrid, where he currently lives, Juan Manuel Castro Prieto is a trained economist whose mathematical skills underlie the making of visionary landscapes, carefully wrought architectural studies, and unsettling reportage of vaguely discerned, yet politically charged social terrains. Always, it is place that fascinates. Coming to photography as a self-taught enthusiast in 1970, albeit with a background in science, Prieto has developed travel photography into fantastical formal studies that escape the limits of exoticism. Influenced by Gabriel Cualladó and Paco Gómez, whom he met at the Real Sociedad Fotográfica de Madrid, Prieto has furthered their strategy of using neorealism to position photography as an expressive art.
Prieto has exhibited widely, including at the Au Palais de Tokyo, Paris, France; Instituto Gaudi, Lima, Peru; Orsay Museum, Paris, France. Among his many publications are Perú, Viaje al Sol, 2001; Etiopía, 2009, both published in Madrid by Lunwerg, and Bodas de sangre, Madrid, 2011, published by La Fábrica.
Photographs by Muñoz are in many international collections, including Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid, Spain; Foto Colectania, Barcelona, Spain; Maison Européenne de la Photographie, París, France; New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York, USA; and Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Texas, USA.
Straight from Spain: Photography by Isabel Muñoz and Juan Manuel Castro Prieto will be on view through October 4, 2014.