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Nico Munuera  "Fanum Naturae | caso solo azulNico Munuera "Fanum Naturae | caso solo azul

April 22 - June 24, 2022


Nico Munuera

Fanum Naturae | casi solo azul

(Fanum Naturae | almost only blue)



Fanum Naturae | almost only blue

In 1460 the shõgun Ashikaga Yoshimasa planned the construction of a pavilion surrounded by a large garden to serve as his retreat; a place dedicated to the interiorization and perception of beauty, where man's relationship with nature would be one of veneration and gratitude. This construction was supposed to be covered in silver, thus emulating another temple built years ago by his grandfather, which was informally known as the Temple of the Golden Pavilion, or Golden Pavilion. But due to various conflicts of the time, and despite the building having been completed, it was never covered in silver as initially planned. Today it is a Buddhist temple with its wooden construction totally exposed. There is no hint of the initial intention of being wrapped in silver. However, since the Edo Period it is known as Ginkaku which means "Silver Pavilion”.

A few months ago, I started a series of works focused on silver pigment, motivated by the mental image of this temple surrounded by an oriental garden. I imagined the fluidity of silver dressing a beautiful construction in the middle of an environment designed for enjoyment, meditation and communion with nature. I just started painting, like so many other times. In the process of which I learned of the characteristics of silver on canvas and its behavior, other pigments began to bloom. Secondary nuances that had more and more prominence. And so, when the weeks went, between all the nuances, the blue showed up.

To be honest, I have always tried to avoid blue. The reason has been none other than a personal prejudice derived from a simplistic reading of the painting. The relationship of fluidity and the color blue, provoke a first perception of the seascape and the sky that I have always wanted to prevent. A sight of the sea, on the other hand, outside the studio - I have had it tattooed in my eyes for years.

On the island of Ibiza, from a very specific point, the observation of the inexhaustible tremulation of the sea, has become my particular tantra. A meditation established in the vision of the minimum, a minimum in constant movement. A place, where the succession of consecutive moments impossible to retain, invites reason to flourish the certainty of the unattainable in a constant calm of uncertainty. A place where I find the pure awareness of time's shape.

Although my relationship with landscape seems obvious to many people, I identify myself more accurately with nature, a much more internal concept and mostly not visible to the naked eye. What we call landscape is, for me, an accumulation of innumerable elements interacting with each other creating a visible surface. This visual conglomerate is really made of multiple elements building themselves, individually and internally. Atmospheric, geological, and vegetal elements which don't constitute landscape by themselves in isolation. Starting from this very idea of nature, as a movement and internal construct, I try to make my painting, my movement on canvas and the flow of ink on paper, behave as one of those minimal elements that belong to the landscape. I try to meet with the painting as we both become one.

I don't have a concept of painting as a representation of an outer space. In my case, the act of painting is the place. A place of active interiorization. The impulse comes from an internal movement whose immediate consequence is an external physical manifestation. Something similar to sap, constantly flowing and pushing a plant, creating a visible outer shape.

In this period of time that I have called Fanum naturae | almost only blue, the process, as it usually happens in painting, becomes one of learning and encounter. Almost as if it were a face-to-face confrontation with an enemy who was always with me, the encounter with blue has appeared irretrievably. I also admit that in these paintings, my interest in thinking about the importance of water in my work has returned. A continuously present water, which I am aware of, constitutes all my painting.

This exhibition, after all, is nothing more than a sample of sectioned time. Fragments of time that have been lived in the studio, that somehow contain the intensity and lightness of a beauty that escapes from the hands and floats in an intuitive understanding. An intuition and succession of circumstances, which after a period of four years of absence, is able to emerge and define a singular period.

And so, it is, that a small painting that was isolated by its peculiar color somewhat different from all the others, now, it crosses an ocean and says, whispering, “almost only blue”.

— Nico Munuera, 2022






"Anyone Can Move a Mountain", curated by Paul Barrett. image: Jerry Siegel, "Thornton Dial, McCalla, AL" (detail), 2007"Anyone Can Move a Mountain", curated by Paul Barrett. image: Jerry Siegel, "Thornton Dial, McCalla, AL" (detail), 2007

August 19 - September 24, 2022


Anyone Can Move a Mountain


Michaela Pilar Brown

Richard Dial

Jakob Dwight

Roscoe Hall

Shaun Leonardo

Umar Rashid

Jerry Siegel

Leslie Smith III

and Renée Stout


curated by Paul Barrett



Anyone Can Move a Mountain



"We are not makers of history. We are made by history..

- Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., “Strength To Love”, published by Harper & Row, 1963

History is subjective. Art, even more so. It was with this in mind that I invited artists from across the United States to write about the works of Thornton Dial. Anyone Can Move a Mountain brings together a range of artists who contributed their reactions to Dial's work, and how they relate to it through their own work. The proof of concept - why I selected these artists - became the catalyst for this project.

Much has been written about Mr. Dial's work, including significant historical publications by Paul Arnett and his father, Bill, who championed many Alabama artists' work for decades before those artists had an appreciative audience at home. The challenge then became to create a new publication that would add to an already rich body of writing. Alongside essays by scholars and art-historians, I asked Michaela Pilar Brown, Richard Dial, Jakob Dwight, Roscoe Hall, Shaun Leonardo, Umar Rashid, Jerry Siegel, Leslie Smith III, and Renée Stout to respond to Thornton Dial's work and to relate it to their own artistic practice. This exhibition, taking its name from a 1999 Thornton Dial assemblage in the upcoming exhibition at the Abroms-Engel Institute for the Visual Arts, features works that illustrate what made me connect these artists to the art of Thornton Dial.

On November 12, 2010, a mutual acquaintance brought me to meet Thornton Dial in his studio in Bessemer, Alabama, for the first time. After nearly a decade of work (and two-years of COVID delays), the first retrospective of Dial's entire career will open very near to where Mr. Dial lived and worked for decades.

Thornton Dial: I, Too, Am Alabama at the Abroms-Engel Institute for the Visual Arts at UAB will present seminal works from the 1980s alongside major works from the height of his production and some of his poignant, last works.

I, Too, Am Thornton Dial, presented concurrently at the Samford University Art Gallery before traveling to the Wiregrass Museum of Art, expands this examination with a focus on Dial's outstanding works on paper. This exhibition at Maus Contemporary expands this curatorial exploration even further to create a dialogue across decades and draw connections between Thornton Dial's place in history and, "the fierce urgency of now."

- Paul Barrett, May 2022







Catherine Tafur monograph  -  click to order via ebayCatherine Tafur monograph - click to order via ebay

Catherine Tafur


with texts by

Noah Dillon

Zachary Small

and a conversation with

Eric Fischl


Hardcover, 316 pages, full color

approx. 12 by 9.6 in.

(ca. 30,7 by 23,7 cm)

ISBN:  978-0-9988397-2-1

available via ebay (click book cover on left)




Maus Contemporary is a contemporary art gallery and space dedicated to supporting creativity with a focus on experimental as well as issue-driven work. Through representing emerging, established, and internationally recognized artists, the gallery is committed to bringing a global perspective to contemporary issues and practices across the Visual Arts. The program consists of exhibitions, print publications, and media outreach, emphasizing on a cross-generational narrative, placing contemporary artists in dialogue with and within the context of historically relevant artists.

A rigorous gallery exhibition program, focusing on ten to twelve week long exhibitions, has become a staple of curatorial excellence in the South of the US, and the gallery has received critical attention from the press, including Art Forum and Art in America. The exhibition Mark Flood: FACEBOOK FARM  was selected as one of three finalists for the AICA-USA Award for Excellence in Art Criticism and Curatorial Achievement in the category "Best show in a commercial space nationally outside of New York".
The gallery's mission is to offer a platform for experimentation in a culturally difficult environment through four to six gallery exhibitions a year in addition to curated projects and exhibitions abroad.

Maus Contemporary has released over a dozen publications so far, most recently
monographs on gallery artists Leslie Smith III, Spanish artist Irene Grau, Peruvian-American artist Catherine Tafur, and is currently working on a monograph on American artist Melissa Vandenberg.

In an effort to be more environmentally responsible, the gallery will no longer mail printed announcement cards. Please subscribe to our email list.