Jesús Bautista Moroles
Jesús Bautista Moroles is a Mexican American sculptor whose work contains references to his historical and cultural roots. Granite Weaving, for example, recalls elements reminiscent of the architecture of the pre-Columbian Aztec and Maya civilizations. In this relief sculpture, the artist uses stacked blocks and slabs of gray granite that recall the construction techniques and composition of pyramids built by these ancient peoples.
Other influences in this work reflect his experiences as a child and young adult. He spent several boyhood summers in Rockport, Texas, with an uncle, a master stonemason trained in Monterrey, Mexico. They worked on a variety of stone construction projects, including a Gulf Coast seawall. Later his drafting, electronics, mathematics, and woodworking courses at North Texas State University in Denton, Texas, where he earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in 1979, further strengthened his skills. A year later he immersed himself in the classical European sculptural tradition by working in a foundry at Pietrasanta, Italy, not far from the quarries at Carrara. These two important towns date back to ancient Rome, and during the Italian Renaissance, sculptors, including Michelangelo, chose their stone there.
Rather than carve granite, the sculptor prefers to extend the limits of this extremely hard stone in other ways. He uses modern tools and engineering technologies to assemble pieces of cut stone into new configurations. Granite Weaving reflects his signature vocabulary, combining rough-hewn, irregular surfaces with smooth, highly controlled geometric shapes. Horizontal slabs of smooth stone emerge from the rough granite. The tentative projections at the top gradually intensify through the dramatic interplay of light and shadow as each descending tier reveals more stone. In addition to the architectural reference to the stepped pyramids of ancient Mexico, the pattern and the title itself also seem to suggest an interlocking basket or textile design.
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