From bright colors to geometric shapes, Latin American Artist Rafael Barrios’ Mind’s Eye brings optical illusions to life at Art of the World Gallery


HOUSTON – On the evening of Wednesday, August 29, Houston’s critically-acclaimed Art of the World Gallery held an opening reception for Venezuelan-American artist Rafael Barrios and his exhibition: Mind’s Eye. With the artist in attendance, guests had the opportunity of having a first-hand look of Barrios’ 27 vividly colored sculptures made of lacquered steel. Guests were amazed by the way the works dynamically manipulated and tricked the eye. When one first sees Barrios’ works, the sculptures give away a 3-D essence, resembling carefully stacked geometric objects. Nonetheless the artist simply shapes planar sheets of steel, altering the viewer’s stance in space and in time. In fact, the artist himself has coined a term for this aesthetic – Virtualism.

Barrios was born in Baton Rouge, Louisiana in 1947 to Venezuelan parents and has maintained his Latin American roots ever since. With a devoted passion for art, he studied Fine Arts in Canada, U.S., and Venezuela, and currently has his art studios in the U.S., Venezuela and France. Throughout his career, the artist has exposed his work in various galleries, museums and public spaces, such as an exhibition on New York’s Park Avenue in 2012. He has also worked closely with the pioneer of kinetic and optical art Carlos Cruz-Diez.

Making sure the avid art aficionados didn’t go hungry, trendy and upscale Mediterranean restaurant Fig & Olive presented a chef’s selection of light bites at the event. With a variety of signature crostini, guests had the splendor of treating themselves to succulent flavors, such as Manchego Fig with Marcona Almond, Smoked Salmon with Crème Fraiche and Caviar, Tomato Burrata with Pesto, amongst others – all incorporated with the restaurant’s integral ingredient: olive oil.

Following the early evening soirée, Art of the World Gallery directors Mauricio Vallejo and Liliana Molina and 30 of the gallery’s VIPs departed for a sumptuous dining experience at Fig & Olive, recently opened in The Galleria earlier this year. Nestled within chic decor de Provence and trendy ambience, the group indulged in traditional dishes from French, Italian and Spanish coasts, reinvented with a contemporary twist and paired with wines from the Mediterranean regions. From Beef Carpaccio with Spiced Tomato Compote, Truffle Risotto with Organic Wild Mushroom and Parmesan Crisp, Citrus Glazed Scottish Salmon with Cauliflower Couscous, to Olive Oil Cake soaked in Moroccan Syrup, the night assumed a vivid and resoundingly elegant celebration of modern and contemporary Latin American art.

As they took in the tropical colors and dynamic geometries of the sculptures, guests included artist Rafael Barrios, Art of the World Gallery owners Liliana Molina and Mauricio Vallejo, international philanthropist and political activist Joanne King Herring, Houston's new Honorary Consul General of Sweden Astrid Marklund, Misi and Ali Moshiri, Michelin Newall, Wanda and Federico Baptista, Mario Gudmundsson, Tammie Kahn, Holly and Bill Paull, and Beth Wolff.


Art of the World Gallery is a 6500-square-foot blue-chip gallery located at 2201 Westheimer Road in the River Oaks neighborhood of Houston, Texas, featuring modern and contemporary art by global artists. In its first years of operation, the gallery has presented exhibitions curated by proprietors Liliana Molina and Mauricio Vallejo, including works by Fernando Botero, Robert Indiana, Julio Larraz, Mr. Brainwash, Gustavo Vélez, and Sophia Vari, among others. With direct personal relationships with the artists it represents, Art of the World Gallery offers Houston and the United States an effective, nuanced, and accessible approach to modern and contemporary art. Rafael Barrios’ Mind’s Eye runs from August 10, 2018 through October 13, 2018. Art of the World Gallery is open to the public Monday through Saturday from 10:00 AM to 7:00 PM. For more information, please visit

Mauricio Vallejo, Liliana Molina, Rafael Barrios, Jessie, Soraya, Maui
Diana Phan, Preston Heng
Ali Moshiri, Misi Moshiri, Wanda Baptista, Federico Baptista
Robert Heineman, Peter Doyle, Jeff Ryan
Margaret Matherne, Joanne Herring, Rafael Barrios, Ali Choudhri, Susan Mackie
Susan Mackie, Joanne Herring, Gregg Harrison
Wanda Baptista, Liliana Molina
William Paull, Holly Paull
Roger Copello, Mariana Copello, Maria Manrique, Isabel Torras, Lorena Raull, Pablo Henning
Silvia Salle, Micheline Newall
Loli Fernandez Andrade Kolber, Catherine Anspon

2201 Westheimer Rd | Houston, Texas 77098
(+1) 713-526-1201
Monday - Saturday | 10:00 am - 7:00 pm
Sunday | By appointment only
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