Cuban born Torres, who studied at the National School of Arts in Havana, is currently based in Atlanta. Known for his oversized oil on canvas paintings, his work has been exhibited in the U.S., Europe and Cuba.
Sally Macaulay, executive director of the museum, described Torres’ work as photo realistic with inspiration from elements of nature such as leaves, feathers and other organic materials.
“His subjects appear to be knitted or woven. His paintings represent everything from Oprah Winfrey to Pablo Picasso to an unnamed soldier,” the Kennesaw resident said.
Macaulay discovered Torres through the Internet, prompting a studio visit.
“I was amazed at the quality of his paintings. Marilyn Monroe, Abraham Lincoln, Andy Warhol, Martin Luther King lined his studio and the works were 10 to 12 feet high in some instances,” she said.
“The public will love his work. Alexi uses basket weaving in his pieces because it reflects the interconnection between humanity and the world,” Macaulay said.
Running concurrently with the Torres exhibit is Wilbur G. Kurtz: Inspired by Southern History! Macaulay, who serves on the steering committee for Marietta’s 150th anniversary of the Civil War, said the Kurtz exhibit ties with the anniversary commemoration in June.
Kurtz, a well-known painter from 1882-1967, interviewed Civil War participants such as Captain William Fuller ,who was the conductor of the General locomotive, made famous during the Great Locomotive Chase of 1862. Kurtz fell in love with Fuller’s daughter, Annie Laurie, and married her.
After moving to Atlanta, Kurtz painted murals and works in oil and watercolor on canvas and paper.
“He received commissions from banks, and other corporations including The Coca-Cola Company. Kurtz headed the restorations of Atlanta’s Cyclorama of the Battle of Atlanta and Franklin Roosevelt’s home at Warm Springs,” Macaulay said.
In 1938 at Margaret Mitchell’s recommendation, the Kurtzes went to Hollywood to serve as advisors for the filming of “Gone With the Wind.”
“Mitchell insisted that the movie be historically accurate and was convinced that only Wilbur and Annie could make it happen,” Macaulay said.
She said Walt Disney also employed Kurtz as an advisor for two major motion pictures, “Song of the South” and “The Great Locomotive Chase.”
Russell Clayton of Marietta partnered with the museum to curate the Kurtz exhibit working with lenders across the state including The Southern Museum of Civil War and Locomotive History, The Coca Cola Company, Wilbur G. Kurtz III, Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park, and other prominent individuals in Atlanta and surrounding areas.
The Marietta Cobb Museum of Art is at 30 Atlanta St., Marietta.
Visit mariettacobbartmuseum.org or call (770) 528-1444 for more information.