Motilla is originally from San Luis Potosi, Mexico. He studied at the School of Architecture at the University of Guanajuato and is self-taught as a painter and sculptor. He has had a career as an artist for 40 years and runs a studio and workshop in Le--n, Guanajuato, Mexico, where one of his sculptures, a 16-foot, half-ton bronze sculpture of San Sebastian, is on display at the Museum of Art and History.
According to Motilla's website, the piece represents "the defense until the final moment values and beliefs; give his life for his beliefs and coherence between actions and thoughts of individuals."
Peg MacDougal, co-owner of the Edward Bernard gallery, said she is proud to display Motilla's artwork. Her gallery is not only the first in the United States to display his work, but the only gallery. She believes that this is just the beginning for Motilla.
"His work needs to be seen," MacDougal said. "When you look at his sculptures, especially the one at the entrance of the Le--n art and history museum, there's a huge bronze sculpture of San Sebastian, which is the patron saint for people's rights, when you look at that sculpture, and you own an art gallery and that artist calls and says, 'Can I show my work in your gallery?' it's just an honor; nothing but a pure honor."
MacDougal owns the gallery with her husband Paul MacDougal who owns P Mac Music Inc. in Cape Girardeau. The gallery sells mostly art glass and also displays ceramics and metal. MacDougal said she opened up the gallery that houses more than 100 American and Canadian artists because she thought Cape Girardeau could use culture of this level in the community.
Four of Motilla's original paintings have been on display at the gallery since July 13, after the MacDougals hosted a Meet and Greet with Motilla on July 12. His work will be displayed until the end of Jan. 2013.
MacDougal said that Motilla was shy and private in person, but his work is dynamic and his paintings exude as much drama, feeling and emotion as the sculptures that he creates.
"The talent is unbelievable," MacDougal said. "This is museum-quality work. The art, it just needs to be seen."
MacDougal said she tries always to have new and interesting artwork for every First Friday with the Arts, which is an event hosted by the Arts Council of Southeast Missouri where local art galleries and businesses stay open late the first Friday of each month to display artwork for the community. The galleries involved are open anytime from 5-9 p.m. and often have wine tastings, refreshments and opportunities to meet with local artists and ask them questions about their displayed work.
"It's a wonderful thing that the galleries of Cape Girardeau have First Friday. I wish more and more people would get out and see the talent that is being exhibited in all of the galleries," MacDougal said.
MacDougal hosts a reception for every First Friday and serves cocktails and hors d'oeuvres. The gallery's reception this month will be from 5-8 p.m. on Friday Oct. 5.
The gallery is located at 107 West Drive, Suite D, in Cape Girardeau. For more information about Motilla or the gallery call 573-332-7733.