Local artist Benito Huerta strives to expand the boundaries of art by creating works that are symbolic, interactive, and relevant to viewers. Having completed many public art commissions, such as designs for Terminal D at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport and the Mexican-American Cultural Center in Austin, and serving as professor and director/curator for the Gallery at University of Texas at Arlington since 1997, Huerta understands what it means to make artworks that are physically and psychologically integral to the community.
In his elaborate Axis Mundi v. 2, he addresses the mythical notion of an axis mundi—or center of the world that connects heaven and earth—by painting a global map in vibrant blues with spiritual, earthly, and autobiographical emblems that draw broader connections to political and global concerns. Huerta uses a US coin, for instance, to refer to worldwide economics; an ancient Mayan mask, traditionally used in ceremonies, to allude to the cycle of life; and yellow handprints at the center of the composition to represent his hand in creating the painting, but also to signify the centrality of human existence in connecting heaven and earth. Huerta’s complex vision of a cosmic axis offers an expressive visual antidote to our increasingly diffuse and multicentered world.