Sacred Architecture and Stone Figures of Ancient Guerrero at Throckmorton Fine Art

. February 12, 2016

NEW YORK – Throckmorton Fine Art (www.throckmorton-nyc.com) in New York will present a special show of Sacred Architecture and Stone Figures of Ancient Guerrero, “Portals of Transformation II,” at its New York gallery from April 28 – June 11, 2016.

Sacred ArchitectureAccording to Spencer Throckmorton, “Our Spring show features sixty stone figures and models of sacred architecture of Ancient Guerrero dating to the pre-classic and classic periods and spanning history from 1800 BCE to 450 CE. These include striking three dimensional Temple models and Shaman masks, a wide range of standing figures, figural Monkey stargazers, masks with ear flares, and funerary figures.”

In an essay (Draft Attached) for the show catalog dealing with Convention and Representation in Guerrero Sculpture by specialist G.A. Wardle, Mr. Wardle says, “The lapidary art of Guerrero, like the place itself, remains something of an enigma even now. Ancient looking in its apparently primitive, almost elemental sense of form, yet strangely modern in the level of abstraction and economy of lithic expression, Guerrero sculpture possess a permanence of both form and materials that is almost archetypal in our psyche, yet produced by a culture that remains elusive, having left little trace in permanent masonry architecture that even today is the standard by which cultural status is measured, widely traded it appears, with figures deposited as offerings at sites as widely separated in space and time as Aztec Temple Mayor in Mexico City, despite origins in a region widely seen today as remote.”

Among pre-classic highlights is a Mezcala/Chontal Standing Figure made of dark green and black stone (1800-1200 BCE); a green stone Pregnant Figure, a Seated Mezcala Monkey Double Stone; a Mezcala “Temple Model” plaque with two Stories of green diorite, over 11 inches in height; and a Mezcala Temple with Two Columns and Three Figures of hard stone.

Featured pre-classic works dated between 1100 – 300 BCE include numerous Temple models, many with staircases and columns; a Jade Temple Four Column Plaque; an Andresite Mezcala Figure with Open Heart in Chest; a six inch high Mezcala Mace composed of multiple figures and one double sided standing on top; and a Temple composed of Three figures, made of diorite.

Items dating between 700 – 300 BCE include more than a dozen Temple Models; Double-sided Standing Figures, male and female; a Female Figure with Ear Flares; a Mexcala Head with Topknot; and an andesite Monkey Stargazer, plus Mexcala marble and serpentine Figures.

The Throckmorton show will also offer a Teotihuacan/Olmec basalt Standing Male Figure 250-450CE, 13 inches high, and a green stone Chontal Shaman Mask 300-100 BCE.

Wardle says he, like others who collect or study ancient stones, learned much of what they know from the writings of Carlos Gay whose monumental contributions to the subject going back to the 1960s came at a time when Guerrero and especially Mezcala stone sculpture was even less known and appreciated than it is today. Much of the theoretical underpinnings for Gay’s work derived from a theory of art articulated in George Kubler’s seminal book, The Shape of Time, which Kubler himself – another giant in the field – applied in his Art and Architecture of Ancient America (1962) – the first full-fledged history of Pre-Columbian art. He lays out a theory for the whole of human material culture under which art is subsumed. The oldest surviving things made by man are stone tools from which he imagined it would be possible to trace a continuous series through to the things of today.

Wardle says, “How amazing that the simple volumetric stone figures that we associate iconically with this region should be so indelibly etched into our consciousness as singular achievements, on par with the production of any known lithic culture. This perception, seen through the lens of modern art, owes perhaps as much to the writings of Carlos Gay as to the pieces themselves.”

It was Gay who categorized the literally thousands of Mexcala stone figures he surveyed into a handful of classification types. These types, considered in sequence, provide in his view a fairly homogenous picture of sculptural development from an elementary form to a fully developed one. Variations are traced through the observation of added details and innovations in lapidary technique.

“The range of ancient figures and temples among the sixty in the Throckmorton exhibition do not,” Wardle says, “fit into the limited number of types described in Carlos Gay’s or any – morphology for that matter. As we look across their extraordinary variety it may be more instructive to think about the conventions of representation that are in play – what, how and when are things shown – shifting our attention toward the realm of invention and meaning and away from a struggle between the art and materials to elaborate the possibilities inherent with a form, which is more a consequence than a cause.”

Demonstrating the gallery’s commitment to connoisseurship, Throckmorton Fine Art has achieved sales to such major museums as The Museum of Modern Art, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Getty and The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, as well as The Reina Sofia in Madrid. Portions of collections the gallery was instrumental in forming have been donated to The Louvre. The gallery loans examples on a regular basis to such significant institutions as The London National Gallery.

In addition to showcasing Pre-Columbian art, Throckmorton Fine Art specializes in Chinese Jades and Asian art, and contemporary Latin American photography. Throckmorton participates in internationally acclaimed fairs, including The Winter Antiques Show in New York, the Association of International Photography Art Dealers (AIPAD) show and stages important annual exhibitions in the spring during Asia Week.

THROCKMORTON FINE ART
145 East 57th Street, third floor, New York, NY 10022
Tel: 212 223 1059. Fax: 212 223 1937
Tuesday to Saturday from 11-5
info@throckmorton-nyc.com
www.throckmorton-nyc.com

Category: Sculpture

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