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March 2018

A Studio in the Gallery: The Playful Universe of Ignacio Iturria

For children, the little shoeboxes they paint and furnish become theaters where imaginary dramas and psychological interplay are carried out. For Ignacio Iturria, one of Uruguay’s leading artists, childhood tableaux are inspiration for the canvases he paints. Playful and allegorical rather than sinister or brooding, his is a dream world created within a shadowbox grid where whimsical people, animals, and distorted, surreal household items and furnishings, reflect a wide cultural and historical mix of individuals, urban life, social currents, and fantasy.


From September 24, 2017 through February 25, 2018, the Neuberger Museum of Art will present A Studio in the Gallery: The Playful Universe of Ignacio Iturria, an interactive exhibition that illustrates key moments in the artist’s trajectory over the past thirty years, and features a living studio in which the artist will work in collaboration with Purchase College students to create new works during a two-month residency. The works will then become part of the retrospective of the artist’s key 40 paintings and sculptures on view in the exhibition. During the course of the residency, visitors will be invited to enter the space and meet the artist.


Iturria’s work can be fun, brooding, and nostalgic. Piling layer upon layer of paint, his paintings take on a sculptural feeling. Some of his creatures, built out of “great rich gobs” of paint, take on anthropomorphic characteristics. He once commented: “I have always liked to humanize objects and things. It is my way of incorporating them and loving them.” He creates small characters and enlarged objects, making improbable scenes seem possible.


“He creates small worlds that pose big questions,” notes Patrice Giasson, the Alex Gordon Curator of Art of the Americas. “There is a noticeable lack of pretention. Yet, by using trompe l’oeil effects in his small, theatrical, softly contoured stages, he pushes us to connect our instinct for play and fantasy with adult concerns and memories. We see the spectacle of people in the present, with their histories, their dreams, their fears, and their desires. His work is utterly unique.”


A Studio in the Gallery: The Playful Universe of Ignacio Iturria is organized by the Neuberger Museum of Art, Purchase College, State University of New York, and curated by Dr. Giasson, with the curatorial assistance of Marianelly Neumann. The fully illustrated catalogue that accompanies the show contains texts by Argentine fiction writer Sergio Chejfec. “The link between Iturria’s visual art and literature is not new,” says Dr. Giasson. “The idea was to stimulate a literary response to the pictorial.”

Generous support for this project is provided by the Alex Gordon Estate, Purchase College School of the Arts, the Friends of the Neuberger Museum of Art, the Ministry of Education and Culture of Uruguay, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Uruguay, the Consulate General of Uruguay in New York, and by the Purchase College Foundation.

Events and programs offered in conjunction with A Studio in the Gallery will be announced at a later date.


The Museum is located at 735 Anderson Hill Road in Purchase.  Call  914-251-6100 for more information.