ArtSpace/Virginia Miller Galleries will hold a public reception for “Culinary Adventures: Bronze Sculpture and Paintings by Luis Montoya and Leslie Ortiz,” from 6-10 p.m. Friday, February 3rd.
Each of the partners is well known in international art circles; both have exhibited widely in leading galleries and museums, Montoya since 1972 and Ortiz since 1996. Partners since 1994, Montoya and Ortiz are the extremely rare bronze sculptors who handle every phase of their work, from design to casting and patination, which gives them total control of the creative process.
We do everything together,” said Montoya, “from the designs to the modeling and casting, but these days Leslie does the patinas.” “I learned from Luis,” Ortiz says, adding that while many formulas for bronze patinas have been known for centuries, she and Montoya have developed their own techniques, particularly for the little-used pastel patinas.
Both have extensive credentials: before opening South Florida’s first commercial bronze foundry in South Florida in 1972, Montoya was awarded his BFA and MFA from the School of Fine Art of San Fernando in Madrid, followed by independent study in Florence, London and New York, along with postgraduate studies in sculpture at Kent State University. His sculpture has won two Hortt Memorial Competition awards, the James J. Akston Foundation Award and the Francisco Alcantara Award in Spain.
Ortiz joined him in 1985 after being awarded the F.C. Uriot Prize from Rijksakademie van Beeldende Kunsten in Amsterdam, where she received her MA, and from Boston University School of the Arts (BFA), where she graduated magna cum laude in sculpture.
“With those backgrounds, it’s no wonder that they see sculptural forms in organic matter like fruits, vegetables and shellfish,” said Virginia Miller, owner and director of ArtSpace/Virginia Miller Galleries in Coral Gables, Florida.
“The phenomenal aspect of their work is that when you take a subject like cherries or an artichoke, and you cast it as a monumental bronze and add an exquisite patina, it transcends the original object and becomes a fascinating piece of sculpture,” Miller adds. “If you are open to the sensual possibilities stimulated by these works, I guarantee they will alter your perception of their subjects.”
Wherever they have been exhibited, the sculptures of Montoya and Ortiz have received critical acclaim. According to Dr. Agustin Boyer, Saint Cloud State University, Minnesota, “Luis and Leslie wield their promethean creative instinct to push the boundaries of perception, and continue to balance their playful humor and fine sensitivity with a unique technical perfection that allows them to impose the most sublime nuance of the biological world into the staunch telluric world of their craft.”
While interim executive director of the Tampa Museum of Art, the distinguished museum executive Ken Rollin noted that “Whether on a modest or monumental scale, these works of art engage the viewer in a dialogue of form, color, and materiality that offers a lasting impression.”
Greater Miami’s longest-established contemporary fine art gallery, ArtSpace/Virginia Miller Galleries is located at 169 Madeira Avenue in downtown Coral Gables, Florida. Gallery hours are 12 to 6 p.m. Tuesday-Friday and 6-10 for Gables Gallery Night, every first Friday of the month, and by appointment. For more information, call 305-444-4493 or visit our website at www.virginiamiller.com.