The Union is pleased to announce Prima Materia, a two-person exhibition featuring artworks from Houston artists Darwin Arevalo and Grace Zuñiga. Prima Materia will open with a public reception on Saturday, January 19 from 7 to 9 p.m., and is complemented by an artists’ talk on Saturday, February 16 from 2 to 4 p.m.
Prima Materia, whose meaning refers to a formless primeval substance regarded as the original material of the universe — essential to alchemical processes, shares recent works from process-driven artists Arevalo and Zuñiga, whose scope, subject matter, and content in art-making include personal investigations around ideas of memory, migration, and mortality via the transformation of matter and material.
By establishing the creative genus from which these artist contemporaries come, this exhibition juxtaposes visual parallels and experimental material processes to question creative impetus, the subconscious nature of the creative act, and the fundamental, invisual qualities with which both artists imbue their artwork.
Artworks from Darwin Arevalo presented in Prima Materia are products of the artist's deeply exploratory and process driven art-making practice. The results of Arevalo’s artistic experimentation are rooted in material exploration and applied processes that exploit the unpredictable intersections of materiality and form as each of his artworks, in the first place, are reactions unto themselves. His impulse in constructing, combining, and reconstituting found and industrial materials determine the outcome of each piece, respectively. Detectable in this body of work, through the lens of an intense study of the formal advancements in painting throughout art history, is the heavy influence of the nuanced socio-political Latin American experience that color the artist’s life.
Through her creative process, Grace Zuñiga explores the embodiment of memory, narrative, and intention through the methodical manipulation and interweaving of artificial substances with raw materials. By creating powerfully emotive yet minimalistic compositions, she superimposes a visual cosmology upon her artworks and in doing so, defines for herself what is sacred in objects and establishes personal geographies and a sense of time. Zuñiga finds inspiration in natural processes and attempts to emulate nature through the concerted manipulation of material. Each of her compositions conjure the visceral and evoke a palpable sense of the sacred, offering viewers a moment to immerse themselves in an act of reflection, meditation, and devotion. [Organizer's description]