Angels and Men: A Critical View of the Marifé Núñez’s Lost Angels Series from professor Marin Ivanovic

In the context of religious art, about which Jérôme Cottin writes very methodically and inspiringly in his book La mystique de l’art, perhaps 20th-century art has occupied the hardest space of freedom. Modernism, which suppressed historicism and academicism in the 19th century, initially provoked only derision, but not outrage as was the case with experiments in religious painting. The expressionist landscape does not offend anyone (except the Nazis who were wrong about everything), but the Virgin Mary who kicks the child Christ on the butt (Max Ernst, 1926) has been controversial and declared blasphemous. Religious art, in fact, contains very specific meanings, and all figures in biblical texts, theological treatises, and hagiographies are clearly defined – iconographically, therefore visually and biographically, therefore substantively. There is no room for deviation, especially when it comes to the most important figures of Christianity, and among the first and foremost are the messengers of God – angels, a motif present in Marifé Núñez’s oeuvre. Modernism freed up space to separate representation from content, and postmodernism filled that space with new meanings.
In her works so far, Núñez has made extensive use of quotation, creating associative links between past and known meanings and contemporary layers of postmodern critical discourse; in this way, portraits of the old masters, now with a new set of aesthetic and symbolic elements, look at us from her paintings. At the core of her image is, in fact, a highly aestheticized critique of the lowest consumerist intentions and identifications with possession. Such a critique is skillfully „packed“ in the language of liking, so that, like the cunning tailors in Andersen’s story „The Emperor’s New Clothes,“ it plays with the same ones it criticizes. Her painting, therefore, requires intellectual engagement from the observer and a critical look at the obvious. In that sense, it is provocative and subtle – criticism can go unnoticed. On the other hand, her focus on the woman as the mainstay of the events is very close to feminist theories of gender reversal by placing the woman in situations previously reserved only for men. Again, we find a dichotomy – even though the angels by tradition are either sexless or male (like Michael, Gabriel, Raphael), at Núñez they are exclusively women; the fragility of the „angel“ as a term is emphasized by such representation because it ties in with the gender stereotypes of a woman as a fragile being, and on the other hand, the author gives the characters the power that creates an object from the observer and not a subject. The centuries-old division of roles – men view women as objects – has received a radical twist here. Unnaturally enlarged eyes emphasize this situation, angels staring blankly at the beholder. One eye is highlighted by a neon drawing of the all-seeing eye, an ancient symbol of the Sun known in Egyptian mystique as „the eye of Horus.“ This surrealistic summary of a quantum world in which time is not linear is aided by circles that symbolize the secret of all energy and its persistence in changeability – Omnia mutantur, nihil interit. The square, on the other hand, symbolizes the material, the earthly, as well as the recognizable symbols of the modern age – brands. From some „historical“ moment, Vitruvian Man becomes part of the present, as a very famous symbol of the Renaissance search for rational, for structures of space, for knowledge of man, for the secrets of the Universe. As such, it is a seal of cognition.
Marifé Núñez’s „Lost Angels“ cycle is artistically and meaningfully complex. Not only does it open up her authorial world to us, but it also helps us understand the extent to which inspiration for religious topics has received its new interpretive methods. The idea of ​​religiosity has been replaced by the idea of ​​spirituality, and the „form“ of spirituality is more fluid than rigid religious concepts. However, just as religious painting contained a message and a desire to teach observers the right choices for life, so too did contemporary art, as its personal mission, chose to be a reference to the real-life that is taking place around us. In this cycle, Núñez creates layers of elaborate compositions by adhering to shapes, and with deeper insight, we gain a fuller impression of the intellectual aspects of her painting. It becomes clear to us that the author is familiar with and fascinated by contemporary theories of quantum physics, iconographic rules and historical structures of gender identities, and that she uses this skillfully in her work. Creating a kind of authorial metalanguage in this contemporary moment, often described as the „Age of Communication,“ Núñez empowers discourse on the issues of today and offers her input.

Marifé Núñez

Multidisciplinary Artist

Biography from Marifé Núñez

Born in Cordoba, Spain. He spent the first years of his life in Belgium. He began to study law but soon saw that his future was in the creative world.

In 1982 he studied Graphic Arts in Malaga, Spain, and went to the School of Communicative Arts in London. After this, she began working as a creative director in several advertising agencies in Marbella and Gibraltar. During those years she learnt to use watercolours and acrylics in a self-taught way. Driven by her artistic nature, Marifé also studied photography at the Academia Aula 7 in Malaga.

After acquiring her master’s degree in business and marketing in 1994, she opened her own advertising agency “ARTEPUBLICA” and later “MF DISEÑO Y PUBLICIDAD”. Both companies are dedicated to marketing, advertising and graphic design.

It was during this time that he began to use computer support and design applications, which opened up a completely new world of infinite possibilities.

Statement by Artist Marifé Núñez

My work is based on collage, transparency, images fusion, photography and painted backgrounds. Due to my experience in painting, graphic design and photography, I specialized in digital format. I paint my work directly on aluminium, wood, plexiglass or painting with acrylics. The past and the present have merged to achieve new unique effects in my work.

The concept of my work lies in breaking the current paradigms, offering spiritual alternatives and breaking dogmas. It is a journey from the past, overcoming traditional values to the present through manipulation, materialism and consumerism. It idealizes a future based on the awakening of a different reality: one full of optimism and spirituality. With my work I try to change the consciousness so that the key is in the essence of humanity, simplicity and love.

Marifé Núñez Art Exhibitions and Fairs

  • 2019 Just LX, Lisboa
  • 2019 Just Mad X, Madrid
  • 2018 Marbella Art Fair, Marbella
  • 2018 Es.Arte Gallery, Marbella
  • 2017 Es.Arte Gallery, Marbella
  • 2017 Málaga Art Fair, Málaga
  • 2017 Burn-In Gallery, Viena
  • 2017 Benezra Gallery, Marbella
  • 2016 Benezra Gallery, Marbella
  • 2016 Banús Gallery, Puerto Banús, Marbella
  • 2016 Colección Abartium, Barcelona
  • 2016 BURN-IN Galerie & Denkfabrik, Viena
  • 2015 Maimi Art Spectrum Fair
  • 2015 Colección Abartium, Barcelona
  • 2015 Exposición individual, BURN-IN Galerie & Denkfabrik, Viena
  • 2015 Marbella Art Fair, Marbella
  • 2015 Exposición individual en Red Penguin Gallery, Marbella
  • 2014 Maimi Art Spectrum Fair
  • 2014 Red Penguin Gallery, Marbella
  • 2014 Galeria Colorida, Lisboa
  • 2014 Freize Art Fair en el Bulgari Hotel, Londres
  • 2014 Nueva York
  • 2013 Sky gallery, Barcelona
  • 2013 Galería Javier Román, Málaga
  • 2013 Asian Hotel Art Fair, Seoul
  • 2013 Feria Arte Contemporáneo Marbart, Marbella
  • 2013 Exposición individual, Museu dels Angels, Barcelona
  • 2013 Galería Arte Imagen, La Coruña
  • 2013 Circuit Artístic, Castillo de Montesquiu, Barcelona
  • 2013 Exposición con Jaume Muxart, Gallery Taull, Barcelona
  • 2013 Houses of Art Gallery, Marbella
  • 2013 Colección Abatrium, Barcelona
  • 2012 Leo Gallery Monza, Milan
  • 2012 Exposición individual, Art Gallery Amy-d Spazio, Milan
  • 2011 Exposición individual, Gallery Kasser Rassu, Marbella
  • 2010 Exposición individual, Galería Catalejos, Marbella
  • 1993 Salón Siglo XX, Marbella

Digital Plataform

  • Contemporary art curator
  • New York Art
  • Art investment