Ernesto Ibañez

David S. Rubin
Were he not an artist, Ernesto Ibanez might feel very much at home working as a farmer or a zookeeper. A lover of animals and the owner of two dogs and a cat, Ibañez has had a longtime admiration for nature documentaries that explore the lives and habits of animals. As an artist, he has used his creativity to fabricate a whimsical animal menagerie that includes inhabitants such as an elephant named “Curcuma,” a Toucan named “Lynn,” and a rabbit named “Chitra.” All are from Ibanez’s series “The Forest,” named in reference to the rainforests where the animals could be imagined going about their daily lives. Yet, in the physical world, the animals occupy a space representing the intermediate zone between the known and the imaginary, and thus they invite viewers to create allegories, symbols, or metaphors about them.
In temperament, Ibanez’s sculptures are imbued with an irony that results from the artist’s choice of materials. A distinguishing characteristic of these unique creatures is that their coats are metallic and shiny, rather than soft and plush. In an act of inversion, Ibañez simulates animal fur or bird feathers using ordinary carpentry nails. To achieve his desired effect, he developed a labor-intensive process of bending the nails with a press and then inserting the heads into openings in sections of mesh that are then screwed to foam core carved in the shape of a particular animal. Appendages, such as tails, ears or beaks, are made from metal or fiberglass, and they are often painted in bold, colorful geometric patterns. For Ibañez, this geometry refers to the cosmos at large—a subject of his large abstract paintings—and thus links the animals to the spiritual world.
The origins of “The Forest” stem from Ibanez’s desire to experiment with common materials by using them in unexpected ways. Like the artists behind some of the Surrealist assemblages of the 1930s, Ibañez has repurposed a utilitarian object to simulate something that lives and breathes. In this respect, his turning fur into nails recalls the direction taken by Meret Oppenheim to create her iconic fur-covered teacup, where something appearing to be alive also originated as something inanimate.
In addition to an elephant, toucans, and rabbits, Ibanez has populated his animal universe with dogs, a panther, owls, and a host of other species. To date, the largest sculpture is Curcuma the elephant, who measures approximately four feet in height and whose coat is made up of 140,000 nails. As he continues to work on the series, Ibañez envisions giving birth to a new group of sculptures that will be human scale, the beginnings of a life size animal haven.





Ernesto Ibanez
b.1985, Guadalajara Jalisco Mexico

2010 University of Guadalajara Mexico, Bachelor of Visual Arts (Sculptor)

Solo Exhibits:
2017 “Celebrating the Passion of Bioscience and Art” South Texas Reserch Facility San Antonio Texas
2015 “El Bosque” UNAM San Antonio Texas
2014 “Universal Trash, and El Bosque” Mexican Cultural Institute, San Antonio, Texas
2011 “Painting and Sculpture”, Josephine Gallery, San Antonio, Texas
2011 “La Parvada” (The Flock), Patio Central Casa Museo López Portillo Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico

Selected Group Exhibits:
“10x Tieton” Mighty Tieton, Tieton Washington (Catalogue)
“Present Tense” Freight Gallery & Studios, San Antonio Texas
“SOFA” Victor Almendariz Gallery, Chicago Illinois
“Fifth Annual Artspace 111 Regional Juried Exhibition” Artspace 111, Fort Worth Texas
“28th Annual Blue Star Contemporary RED DOT ” Blue Star Contemporary San Antonio Texas
“4th Annual International Sculpture Day ” Lone Star Studios Gallery San Antonio Texas
“Common Currents” Mexican Cultural Institute San Antonio Texas
“New Works by 10 Artist ” Freight Gallery San Antonio Texas

“Puente -Bridge ” Cinnabar Gallery San Antonio Texas
“Art to the Power of Ten ” Mc Nay Art Museum San Antonio Texas
“27th Annual Blue Star Contemporary RED DOT”, Blue Star Contemporary San Antonio Texas (Catalo2gue)

“SATX/MX Un Viaje lleno de Cultura ” Centro de artes Museo Alameda San Antonio Texas (Catalogue)
“Art to the Power of Ten ” Mc Nay Art Museum San Antonio Texas
“Be Part of the Party for the Arts UTSA”,Brick at Blue Star San Antonio Texas
“26th Annual Blue Star Contemporary RED DOT”, Blue Star Contemporary San Antonio Texas (Catalogue)

“Extra Ordinary”, Cinnabar Gallery San Antonio Texas
“El Bosque” UNAM Chicago, Chicago Illinois
“Be Part of the Party for the Arts UTSA”, Plaza Club San Antonio Texas

“Art Night UTSA”, Springhill Suites Marriott San Antonio Texas

“15 Artists”, Gallery Nord, San Antonio, Texas

“Four Emerging San Antonio Artists”, Gallery Nord, San Antonio, Texas

“Inspire on Fire”,San Antonio Central Library, San Antonio, Texas
“Inspire on Fire” Witte Museum, Won Award – “Best of Show” San Antonio, Texas
“81st Annual Artists Exhibition”, The San Antonio Art League and Museum, San Antonio, Texas
“No Puedo Prometer Nada” Galería Jorge Martínez, Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico

“80th Annual Artists Exhibition” San Antonio Art League and Museum, Won Award San Antonio, Texas

“XVIII Salon de la Escultura” Guadalajara Center of Modern Art
“It’s Ok to Cry” Galería HUMO,Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico