SAN FRANCISCO, CA. Nearly eight years in the making, Frey Norris proudly presents
Remedios Varo: Indelible Fables. This exhibition marks the artist’s first solo show in a gallery
since 1962, the year preceding her death. The exhibition will include fifteen works, including oil
paintings, drawings, objects and ephemera.
With the generous support of the Spanish Consulate of San Francisco, Frey Norris will convene a
round table discussion on Varo’s art and life, moderated by Jeanne Carstensen, Executive
Managing Editor of The Bay Citizen and contributor to the New York Times. Distinguished
panelists will travel from museums and institutions from the United States, Mexico (Varo’s
adoptive country) and Spain (her country of birth).
Of the fifteen works in the exhibition, the most impressive is undoubtedly Bordando el Manto
Terrestre (Embroidering the Earth’s Mantle) (1961). Bordando…is the centerpiece of a triptych
that was curiously sold to three separate collectors during Varo last gallery exhibition, at Galeria
Juan Martin in Mexico City. This piece, her largest painting, continues a tale of women who are
carted off to a factory where they are embroidering a new vision for the world. These women,
perhaps trapped in the depicted tower, appear to be losing themselves in the monotonous and
demanding task of sewing, while a musician and a reader entertain and command the goings on
(as if in a Soviet factory). The scene is a curious mixture of the medieval and mid-twentieth
century. The women however, find redemption and a kind of liberation as they remake the world,
literally weaving a feminist future where one man and one woman co-exist in a state of utopian
equality. The third panel of this triptych, not in the Frey Norris show, more graphically fleshes
out this happy outcome. This is the first time that Embroidering the Earth’s Mantle has been on
view anywhere since it was originally acquired by a private collector in 1962.
The gallery also features Portrait of Dr. Ignacio Chavez (1957), the cover of the most recent
monograph on Varo entitled The Five Keys to the Secret World of Remedios Varo (2008). This
painting, a portrait of a famous Mexican cardiac surgeon, figures Dr. Chavez, and what appears to
be the artist herself; the doctor uses a key to literally unlock the artist’s heart. Other figures
awaiting the same treatment and connected by filaments to the stars stand in line behind her.
Eerily, Varo ultimately died of a sudden and massive heart attack and this painting is today
considered one of her most important.
Simultaneous to Indelible Fables at Frey Norris, LACMA will host In Wonderland: The
Surrealist Adventures of Women Artists in Mexico and the United States, opening on January 29th
and running through May 6, 2012 in Los Angeles. This exhibition prominently features many of
Varo’s paintings and will travel to the Musée National des Beaux-Arts du Québec and El Museo
de Arte Moderno in Mexico City.
In cooperation with the Consulate General of Spain, Frey Norris will host a private invitation only
performance art dinner. Inspired by a Surrealist cookbook, authored and illustrated by Remedios
Varo and artist friend Leonora Carrington, this interactive feast on the night of the opening will
engage all five senses, conceived and executed by artist collaborators Julio Cesar Morales and
Max La Riviere-Hedrick.
A 60-page catalogue is available with an introduction by Wendi Norris and Raman Frey and an
essay by Terri Geis, curator of academic programs at the Pomona College Museum of Art. Terri
previously served as a researcher at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, where she worked
on the exhibition In Wonderland: The Surrealist Adventures of Women Artists in Mexico and the
United States (2012).
For additional information and images please contact Melissa Bernabei at 415.346.7812 or
On January 18 from 6 to 8 pm, Frey Norris will be hosting a Remedios Varo Round Table Discussion at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, 701 Mission Street, 2nd floor Conference Room, San Francisco. Participants will include Teresa Arcq, independent scholar and adjunct curator for the Museo de Arte Moderno, Mexico City; Terri Geis, Curator of Academic Programs at the Pomona College Museum of Art, and recent visiting curator at LACMA; Edward Madrid Gómez, former writer and correspondent on the staff of TIME magazine in the U.S. and overseas, he also has written for the New York Times, S.F.Gate/San Francisco Chronicle, ARTnews, Art in America, Art & Antiques, Art + Auction; and Julie Heffernan, artist and Associate Professor at Montclair State University. Moderator is Jeanne Carstensen, Executive Managing Editor of The Bay Citizen and contributor to the New York Times.