Nemesio Antúnez

Nemesio Antúnez

Nemesio Antúnez (1918-1993) possessed a remarkable talent for crystallizing the spirit of certain locations and scenarios. In his small but captivating pictorial selection currently on view at Couturier Gallery, the Santiago de Chile-born, Columbia-educated artist transports us to Atacama Desert dunes, bustling New York streets, and Andes cordilleras. He opens our eyes to fleeting moments past like silhouetted bicycle handles catching the final sunrays before dusk in Paseo en bicicleta (1965). Eerie tranquility also pervades domestic scenes such as Blue Horse (1965), where a chakra-like orb of cerulean light permeates a grazing equine. The striking divergence between these visionary paintings depicting his homeland and those set in New York evinces by contrast his South American pride. In his cityscapes, spectral uniform people scurry about like black-and-white ants amid grids and boxes. Their robotic appearance and dismal geometric surroundings reveal the artist’s view of an urban world devoid of color and character. Antúnez’ seamless blending of objective reality and subjective emotion makes his abstracted dreamscapes seem existent. Op Art checks give Mujer (1963) a digital appearance. These checkers are repeated in other paintings such as The Sleepers (1964) where white wavy parallelograms define mountain planes billowing like quilts. Colorless planes again appear in Park Avenue (1966, pictured above), where skyscrapers’ shells are stripped away to reveal blank floating floors occupied by ant-people. These powerful scenes confer the uncanny impression that Antúnez transmitted his mental images directly into one’s mind.

Couturier Gallery
166 N. La Brea Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90036
Show runs through Nov. 11