While this “Centennial Tribute to Francisco Zúñiga” includes his sculptures, paintings and works on paper, the hand of the sculptor pervades each work of art. His classical methods, monumental figures, strength of their form, solidity of light and space, purity of expression, and the brilliant craftsmanship each conveys, radiates consistently. We feel Zúñiga’s passion as he carves and shapes the soul of those portrayed, whether created from bronze, conté crayon, or printed on stone. Working directly and with an economy of gesture he conveys a flood of meaning. In the drawing “Mother and Child,” Zúñiga captures the love of an infant and the nurturing of the mother as two semi-abstracted figures rendered in a few strokes of charcoal.
His art reflects his Meso-American heritage informed by the modernist era in which he worked. His people, mostly indigenous women, are archetypical. Each is made to feel goddess-like, rendered in a subtle, triangular configuration where the feet, legs, and hips become a wide and solid foundation leading upward. The cross-cultural nature of these women is evoked as well. Figures are variably dressed or undressed, with loose or pinned black hair, lighter or darker skin, and Asian, Spanish, or African features. But their internal presence, the emotions the art evokes, possess a universality. While rooted in his own Mexican culture, the point of this selection is Zúñiga’s ability to transcend nationality and capture the essence of the human spirit that prevails across many cultures.