Onishi Gallery is proud to present Reality Unburdened: Magical Realism Photography, a celebration of a decade of tales woven by award-winning, Mexican-born photographer, Manuel Morquecho. The particular alchemy of Morquecho’s work lies in his ability to excavate the soul of his subjects, the world around him, and himself, infusing his images with an enchantment born only of the purest imagination. Morquecho grew up in a small town in Central Mexico; his memories swept up in the whirlwind of his twelve brothers and sisters and steeped in the scent of bread from his uncle’s bakery. As a young man, he had to leave home to support himself.
Morquecho’s resilience transported him to Guatemala City where he finally had the opportunity to study photography, then continuing to hone his craft and graduating in Washington D.C. His artwork has been exhibited in the U.S., Europe, and Central America, recently winning First Place for Photography at the 2018 Biennale Chianciano, adding to his many other accolades such as the prestigious Leonardo Award for Photography and Digital Art and the IMF-World Bank International Photographic Society’s 2015-16 Photographer of the Year.
Achieving both the intimate and the grand, this is an artist of gorgeous dichotomies. Like the painter Edward Hopper, Morquecho’s photographs transport the audience through tableaus, bearing witness, but also inviting each viewer to create their own narratives behind the presentation. Though he works in a variety of photographic genres, adept, theatrical storytelling is a constant in all his work. The images consider the integration of the past, present, and future – the concept of time a definitive element in his chronicles. Each photograph’s composition is deceptively clean, even simple, but the poses, often self-designed wardrobe and lighting choices, and iconography are shaped with a sculptor’s sensibility. Every flash is constructed with a sharp eye for detail. They portray a distinct sense of the truth, before curving towards the whimsical. Fantasy infuses the layers of meaning to create the artist’s own circus of relationships between others and the self. Morquecho feels he came to the artistic world late; nevertheless, by most creative standards there is no timeline for such a unique voice to blossom. By any form of measurement, these photographic achievements stand tall and will only, “end when his heartbeat stops.” The characters in his shadow boxes of life will continue to wander, breaking free of any walls. We can only relish these slices of unobstructed view into the truths we all struggle and delight to comprehend.