Parallel Visionaries’ is curated by Wanda von Breisky, Guirado Estate Curator, and Laura Revuelta, Art Critic, Curator and Editor in Chief of ABC Culture. Juan Antonio Guirado’s work will provide a creative dialogue on the concerns, expressive forms and styles of a series of other artists selected by the curators from the collection of the Cesareo Rodriguez Aguilera Foundation. Key works from the Guirado Estate have been selected by the Curators, and share common themes despite being distanced through time and space. ‘Parallel Visionaries’ features a carefully curated selection of prints, paintings and sculpture, and juxtaposes abstraction with figurative works and portraiture, including self-portraits by Miró and Picasso. The featured works span several decades from the 1930s through to the 1990s.
Laura Revuelta commented: "In ‘Parallel Visionaries’ we see a dialogue between Juan Antonio Guirado and the great artists of Twentieth Century Spanish art - Picasso, Miró, Saura and Tàpies - which revolves around the dominant issues and conflicts of the twentieth century through to the present day. Visions and parallel discourses of differing pictorial personalities that reflect on the world and its eternal conflicts: crises, wars, famines, nature and its desolate landscapes. Art implicated with reality. Expressions and parallel visions incriminated by man, with art at the forefront of creation and humanity. “
Wanda von Breisky added: “For the past six years Catalina Guirado Cheadle and the Guirado Estate have been consolidating the repertoire of Juan Antonio Guirado’s work through extensive provenance research and by reintroducing his fascinating Essentialist-Surrealist paintings into modern Spanish art. It is therefore a great privilege to have curated an exhibition that will mark the culmination of this effort, furthermore a preview to be unveiled in his home town of Jaen, a place that forged a lasting memory and impression in this artists legacy; and additionally alongside some of the most well known and reputed art masters of the twentieth century. 'Parallel Visions’ illustrates how social political issues, environmental plights and inner enlightenment all played an integral role in the artistic journey of the artists exhibited. Despite their varied backgrounds and artistic paths, these deep existential concerns mutually guided their lives work.” Like Guirado whose work often had a prophetic dystopian feeling, many of the other artists featured in the exhibition were equally immersed in doubt and fear arising from the unsettling times through which they lived, often plagued by war, conflict, famine or fear of damage to the environment through the selfish actions of humankind. Therefore the work of Juan Antonio Guirado becomes the axis of a pictorial discourse, which plays with abstraction whilst reflecting important historical events. Guirado retains his rightful place in the company of Spain’s stellar artists, with this exhibition featuring a group of visionary artists not only united by their Spanish heritage, but also by their international careers and parallel conceptual development.
Heiress to the Guirado Estate Catalina Guirado-Cheadle, embarked upon a mission following the death of her Father in 2010, to restore his name to the higher echelons of Spanish Art History, and with the recent exhibition at Coral gables Museum during Art Basel Miami, she presented her late Father’s artwork to a contemporary audience by collaborating with FLOAT on a spatial design experience inspired by his artworks, successfully converting his spiritual paintings into a meditative VR experience. The Coral Gables exhibition and the group show at the University of Jaen will lay the foundations to ensure that Guirado’s legacy lives on, and he earns its rightful place in Spain’s rich artistic history and the mythology of Andalusia. Catalina Guirado commented: “I now carry the Guirado DNA forward and continue this legacy, returning Guirado’s name to Spain, and validating him as one of its master artists.”
Laura Revuelta compares the transcendental nature of Guirado’s work to the Surrealism of Goya, and talks about the influence of his time in Australia on the spirituality of his work, which resulted in his ‘Intrarealist’ phase. Revuelta comments in her essay “Juan Antonio Guirado: Journey to the centre of the earth”: “Juan Antonio Guirado does not practice such meticulous, affected detail with the premeditation of a copyist. Like Goya or some of the masters of Impressionism and then Expressionism, in just one brushstroke he drops all of these meanings, and even more.”
Within the Spanish visual arts tradition of the 20th century, Guirado stands out as one of the few artists whose characteristic work stems from the concepts of Intrarealism. Intrarealism, a term coined by the ambassador, writer and Spanish pacifist, Salvador de Madariaga, denotes an artistic practice that stems from a profound sense of social consciousness. It was in Intrarealism as well as in Oriental philosophy (Vedānta-Sūtra), which Guirado discovered whilst living in Australia, that he found the precepts with which he explored relevant themes that were fundamental elements of his work.
Juan Antonio Guirado Espinosa was born in Los Villares (Jaen) in 1932 and his arts education began at the early age of 10 in Andalusia. At 18 he moved to Madrid to study portraiture at the San Fernando Academy, later travelling to Italy and France studying Italian Renaissance and French Impressionism. In 1955 Guirado was commissioned to paint a series of murals in New York, before returning to Spain where a serendipitous encounter with an American couple who became interested in his work after seeing him sketching en plein air at the Plaza Mayor. The meeting with the American art lovers led to an exhibition in Miami Beach at the Soler Gallery, Fontainebleu Hotel which kicked off an international career as an artist which saw him exhibit not only in his home country, but also in Italy, Malta, France, Switzerland and in Australia, where he immigrated in 1959. In Australia Guirado became interested in Oriental mysticism, and his oeuvre consequently took on a more spiritual nature, and he moved away from the realism of conventional portraiture and landscapes, via Surrealism and mysticism to a visionary style of painting that became known as ‘Intrarealism’.
Guirado returned to Spain in 1983 after 22 years living and exhibiting internationally, and embarked on a phase of‘Ambientalismo’ or ‘Environmentalism’, creating prophetic work which examined the destruction of the planet through mankind’s consumerism and endless pursuit of technological progress, at the expense of the environment.
During his lifetime, Guirado’s work was collected by a stellar list of art lovers including Royalty and cultural figures including; King Hussein of Jordan, J.D. Salinger, Catherine Dickens and John Schlesinger, and is owned by globally renowned collections and museums including the National Museum Reina Sofia and the National Museum of Fine Arts in Valletta. Guirado was honoured at the Malta Art Biennial for his prolific body of work, and to make his 1996 exhibition in Almeria, art critic Manuel Quintanilla published a monograph on Guirado titled: ‘The Contemporary Andalusian Painter’.
In 2010 only a month before his 78th birthday, Guirado passed away in the place of his birth, Andalusia. His daughter Catalina Guirado has devoted the years since her Father’s passing to preserving his artistic legacy, overseeing The Guirado Estate and arranging exhibitions internationally, most recently during Art Basel Miami, where she worked with FLOAT to create a VR experience featuring her late Father’s transcendental paintings, succeeding in bringing the work to a new generation in the form of virtual reality.