"Split Monumental" by Jorge Marín. Photo by Joan Vinson.

Mexican artist Jorge Marín, whose eight bronze sculptures are on display at the San Antonio Botanical Garden as of Wednesday, said his first memories as a child are of working with clay. Marín has devoted his life to honing his skills and creating life-size sculptures which have been installed in Mexico and Texas.

The Botanical Garden’s new sculptural exhibit, part of his “Wings of the City” exhibit, traveled for more than three years through Mexican cities, landed in Brownsville in 2013, and then moved on to Houston, Dallas, Fort Worth, and now San Antonio. “Wings of the City” will be on display at the Botanical Garden until Valentine’s Day, with an additional sculpture at the Southwest School of Art.

Acting Consul General of Mexico José Antonio Larios said Marín’s sculptures promote cultural diplomacy between the United States and Mexico.

Jorge Marín. Photo by Joan Vinson.
Jorge Marín. Photo by Joan Vinson.

“We believe that this cultural exhibition will be broadly accepted among the visiting public and will serve as an example of the artistic talent that our country has to offer,” Larios said.

Marín sculpts to communicate a universal language.

“Art is the only one possibility for me to express exactly what I want to express,” Marín said in a thick accent. Although language barriers might infringe upon communication, Marín’s expression is evident in his craft.

Most of the sculptures seem to have stopped in mid-motion as each figure showcases enlarged veins and bulging muscles, as if preparing for flight.

Marín prefers to work with bronze, saying results in a substantial work that actually appears light in weight. The lightness is evident in the posture of the figures as most seem to be poised in effortless acrobatic stances.

Department of Culture and Creative Development Director Felix Padrón walked toward one of the sculptures, stood before the figure, and said in a soft voice, “It’s like they’ve been here forever. They’re so integrated into the landscape.”

Department for Culture and Creative Development Director Felix Padrón walks away from one of the sculptures. Photo by Joan Vinson.
Department for Culture and Creative Development Director Felix Padrón walks away from one of the sculptures. Photo by Joan Vinson.

Padrón said most people come to the Botanical Garden for an outdoor experience that also is a meditative experience.

“It’s a perfect setting for them to experience art, flowers, nature – all together – and, hopefully, they will walk away with a really wonderful, nurturing experience,” he said.

He’s pleased the Botanical Garden incorporates human-made creations in its landscaped expanses.

“It’s an oasis within San Antonio, so I think it is a place you can stop and reflect not only on the wonderful landscape but on the artistic value that we bring to people,” Padrón said.

Bringing “Wings of the City” to San Antonio creates an avenue of accessibility for those people who can not travel to see Marín’s work in Mexico and elsewhere, he added.

The Botanical Garden has hosted an annual art exhibit for the past 12 -15 years, but Marín’s work is the first international exhibit, according to San Antonio Botanical Garden Executive Director Bob Brackman.

“We’re so pleased and proud to have Jorge Marín’s sculptures here to showcase the garden with his art, and his art with our garden,” he said.

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Artwork changes the fabric of the garden’s landscape, Brackman said.

“I think the Botanical Garden is a place of beauty and whether you are a gardener or an art lover you still appreciate texture and color and foreground and background and how that enriches your life,” he said, noting that the artist and the gardener are “using different canvases” to blend together the different expressions of beauty.

*Featured/top image: “Split Monumental” by Jorge Marín. Photo by Joan Vinson. 

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Joan Vinson

Former Rivard Report Assistant Editor Joan Vinson is a San Antonio native who graduated from The University of Texas with a bachelor's degree in journalism. She's a yoga fanatic and an adventurer at heart....