Sometimes even the longest journeys come full circle, with the answer having been there all along, even from the beginning. And so it went for Latin American artist Jorge Jiménez Martínez who, at the young age of 22, traveled to Italy on a study grant where he explored Europe and Renaissance history.
Those travels and education only served to deepen his sense of culture, causing him to reflect back on his time in Costa Rica, and especially the monumental granite spheres created by a pre-Columbian civilization in the Borucas.
Today the artist delves obsessively into the perfect beauty of the sphere to create bronze and marble sculptures, many of which also are monumental in scale, and that explore sacred geometry and sphericity in a style labeled transmutative symbolism.
Just as the artist's works reflect transformation and natural change, the artist himself has evolved over time. Born in Heredia, Costa Rica, his art name came about from the contraction of de Heredia, or from Heredia.
The faces of Deredia's characters, many of whom are female, have an indigenous quality that makes them universal in appeal. His goddesses give birth, offer comfort and create positive, life-affirming moments in time and space where matter is transformed again and again.
Deredia has exhibited often in Latin America, South America, Europe and Asia — he's even got a piece in the Vatican's public collection in St. Peter’s Basilica — but his upcoming stop at Art of the World Gallery in Houston marks the first United States show outside Miami and Washington.
The gallerists describe Deredia as one of the most zen human beings you'll ever meet, and his works touch on contemplative themes of genesis, dream state, harmony, protection and refuge. He's a philosopher at heart, and has penned a few aphorisms that get to the core of his thinking. "To be moved in front of a symbol means listening to a forgotten note."
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As for sphericity — or how closely an object approaches that of a mathematically perfect sphere — it's easy to see why Deredia has embraced the goal of this archetypal shape. A sphere doesn't have a bad side: no matter how you look at it, from any angle, its highly symmetrical perfection is mirrored back to the viewer. He's taken that concept one step further in his transformational quadriptychs, where even the reverse view reveals its own narrative.
Deredia also continues work on an ambitious project titled La Ruta de la Paz (The Path of Peace), which calls for monumental sculptural complexes to be installed in countries ranging from as far north as Canada down to the southernmost tip of South America in Tierra del Fuego.
Works by Deredia are on view January 19 through March 17 at Art of the World Gallery, 2201 Westheimer, open 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays, 713-526-1201, artoftheworldgallery.com.