Julie Zener Gallery

From a young age, Benito Rangel de Maria was set on a path that interweaved disparate cultural and geographical boundaries. Although born in Michoacán, Mexico in 1970, the artist grew up in a Latino neighborhood in Chicago bordered by pockets of diverse ethnic cultures that ultimately influenced his outlook on the world.

Rangel de Maria’s works  are created with many layers that make up our society. Dependent on an urban structure of pipes, chain link fences and sewing needles, these works use the language of infrastructure to support the magical links of light, glass, and colors of a chandelier. Most of the works are an integration of layered images connected with wax, a substance that replicates our own transparent and transitory qualities. Other works play with the refraction of light off a black board with a pin and vinyl film construction, allowing us to question the true structure of this symbol. By juxtaposing archetypical images, the viewer is encouraged to see beyond the limitations of the physical.

Layers composed of mixed media, graphite, oil, wax or acrylics, invite viewers into a world constructed with intention to reveal a system of symbols that brand and reflect our desire to distinguish ourselves individually, yet be part of a larger group.

Rangel de Maria received a Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Art from Lake Forest College in Chicago, IL, with a concentration in printmaking with a focus on monotypes. His work was strongly influenced by the powerful yet intimate works on paper of American artist Helen Frankenthaler. He also had the opportunity to study abroad, initially in Paris advancing his fluency in French and knowledge of Art History, followed with an internship at Sotheby’s in Madrid. After graduation, he was invited to intern at The Peggy Guggenheim Collection in Venice, Italy. Daily practices of studying the museum’s permanent collection in order to support his various docent duties surrounded him with an incomparable breath of knowledge and a top-notch community of international colleagues and institutions. It was here where Benito formed an inspirational connection with the work of Rufino Tamayo and Joseph Cornell. Tamayo’s Heavenly Bodies presented pre-Columbian imagery with European Modernism within the unlimited boundaries of the universe.

Following Venice, Rangel de Maria continued in Lugano, Switzerland to join the ARCH Foundation where he coordinated conservation and restoration projects including efforts in St. Petersburg, Russia and Dubrovnik, Croatia.

His mind was fully engaged in ideas of cross contemporary cultures as he traveled from one border to another. The notions of physical boundaries highlighted memories of the borders he and his family had crossed years ago.

Rangel de Maria’s work has been featured in solo and group exhibitions.  His works have also been included in juried group exhibitions, including the Palm Springs Art Museum and the Marin Museum of Contemporary Art.

Through the act of mark making, construction and deconstruction with varied media, I am developing a system of symbols that brand ideas of who we are, who we want to be, and how we want to be per- ceived. Working primarily on paper, my work explores aspects of identification focusing on the actions and process that we use to define ourselves and document our surroundings. By creating works that juxtapose our similarities and differences, I encourage the viewer to see beyond the limitations of the physical.




  • BLAZE 218

    30" X 65.25" Acrylic, Watercolor, Graphite, Ink, Found Paper, Mixed Media on Paper


    42" X 56"Acrylic, Graphite, India Ink, Marker, Ink Jet Print on Paper


    13" X 19" Mixed Media Collage on Paper


    13" X 19" Mixed Media Collage on Paper

  • BLAZE 214

    35.5" X 72"Acrylic, Watercolor, Graphite, Ink, Found Paper, Correction Tape, Mixed Media on Paper

  • BLAZE 201

    43" x 39" Acrylic, India Ink, Watercolor, Graphite on Heavy Lithography Paper

  • TRIBE 184

    21" x 20"Acrylic, Watercolor, Graphite on Paper