Manuel Morquecho Critique by Timothy Warrington

manuel morquecho timothy warrington critiqueThrough the dynamic expression of digital photography Manuel Morquecho eloquently communicates his intense affinity with the world around him; his artworks voyage across his Mexican home yet also peregrinate further afield to reach nations that span across the planet. The artist’s compositions focus on the primogenial interactions between human and animal souls, as well as an intrigue regarding divergent synthetic and natural realms of the globe, and he powerfully presents them with a strikingly individual perspective that is entrenched by the artist’s ineffably personal approach. These abiding classical tropes enhance the timeless semblance of Morquecho’s works and align him with a vast dichotomy of artistic history from Jean-Baptiste Oudry to Franz Marc, whilst even encompassing reference to the primeval forms of animalistic representation found in Parietal art. By fluidly integrating these compounding aspects, Morquecho achieves a compelling symbiosis of the body and its surroundings; indeed he casts profound attention to their reciprocal impact whilst conveying a deep respect for the organic essence of our cognitive existence. With astounding ease he captures monumental seas, mountains and surface rock outcrop alongside man made buildings, statues, cars and furniture, which displays the artist’s fundamental views with regards to humanity whilst philosophically linking him unreservedly to the Gothic traditions of art; he eagerly and articulately translates his passions via his lens by capturing the fragment of an instant, which he shares wholly with the viewers of his remarkable artworks.
The human body is a resounding theme throughout Morquecho’s collections; the overwhelming vitality of life is relentlessly celebrated in his vibrant compositions, particularly when observing his ‘Street Photography’ oeuvre in which he depicts mankind across the world enwreathed by antipodal circumstances, in their most honest and authentically individual semblance. Whilst Morquecho often presents a sincerely joyous representation of society, his refined talent enables him to sensitively proffer a more severe perspective; by depicting issues of poverty and homelessness the artist starkly confronts the viewer with images of the modern world’s undeniable affect on society. In this sense, parallels can be found between Morquecho’s work and that of Social Realist photographer Dorothea Lange, both of whom have explored expansive continents to photograph an extraordinarily diverse selection of humanity, while expressing a firm socio-political awareness of immutable subjugation. This collection provokes deep thought in the viewer as a complex web of freedom, identity and destitution are simultaneously contemplated via Morquecho’s fluent visual language, whilst provoking tangible intellectual ties to the Dada movement in his presentation of society.
manuel morquecho artist timothy warringtonModels adorned with large enveloping feathered wings become a repeated and recognisable motif in Morquecho’s artworks from which his notable inspiration from Greek mythology can be inferred, particularly the tale of Icarus and Daedalus. Morquecho’s creations cerebrally challenge the viewer by presenting the nude mortal form as it transcends its traditional role on land, instead in pursuit of an ethereal dream that is distant from humanity as we know it. Through this it is possible to see links in the philosophical ideals between Morquecho and that of Yves Klein, Harry Shunk and John Kender as depicted in their image ‘Leap into the Void’, the composition of which presents a man jumping out of a second story window attempting flight. While there are comparisons to be noted here, Morquecho’s figures with strong ala, unlike that in ‘Leap into the Void’, obtain a graceful level of optimism; Morquecho’s large feathered wings are a poetic representation of the sublime harmony between man and animalia. In these instances, the artist’s subjects reside amongst spectacular natural structures that conjure a stunning juxtaposition that reflects the elegant and perspicacious imagination of the artist.
Inextricable links are rendered with the work of Francesca Woodman when considering the frequent iconography in which individuals interact with land and buildings. Indeed, both artists allow their models to organically conjugate with their environment with a captivating effortlessness and in so doing cast forth their academic thoughts in relation to life, nature and object. These primordial interactions provoke a sense of mystery and intrigue in the viewer; their connections are intense yet undefined in their spiritual aura. Closer analysis of Morquecho’s predilection to present images of these structures creates further correlations with movements such as Vorticism and Constructivism when considering their detailed approach to the forms and shapes which manifest in their physical presence.
In Morquecho’s fervent quest to unite man with nature he regularly incorporates humans and animals either partially or fully submerged in large expanses of water, drawing irrefutable comparisons with video artist Bill Viola. Both artists utilise the extensive symbolism heralded by water to articulate the dynamism of life. While Viola’s work stimulates erudite thought regarding corporeal matters such as birth and quietus, Morquecho academically propounds a deeper intrinsic connection between animal and aqua and, as such, reflects wider concepts referencing the expanse of nature. The viewer is prompted to cogitate the inherent affinity between the nude figures and water, allowing for comparisons with the work of David Hockney and through which Morquecho presents a captivating expression of what it means to be alive. He manipulates the position and posture of his subjects to further solidify the understanding of his message; at times the bodies seamlessly enter the water so entirely that they appear to merge into one another, whilst in other instances man seems to be a wholly separate entity that playfully interacts with the overwhelming force and power of the sea as the visceral movement of the tides exemplifies the strength of the ocean that remains, as ever, irrevocably calm yet disrupted by the vault of man.
Morquecho’s photography superbly captures the liminality between various factions of reality; the artist’s sophisticated approach to the works enables their fantastical depictions to hold an imperishable resonance with the viewer. Morquecho’s compositions are utterly captivating in their ability to share profound narratives with a tenderness and unassailable point of view, while also exhibiting Morquecho’s uncompromised creative capabilities.