My stay in Brazil was only three weeks, most of which was spent completing a group of new paintings to be shown at the Salao de Arte fair in Sao Paulo (August 17 - 22). But when I wasn't in the studio, I had the tremendous privilege of meeting a great many members of the Brazilian art community -- artists, dealers, collectors, curators, writers, editors, passionate art lovers. Without exception, everyone I met was open, warm, engaged and enthusiastic -- generous and patient with my abject lack of Portuguese, and astonishingly upbeat, with a wonderful sense of humor that is deeply ingrained in the culture.
Here is a small selection of work by just a few of the artists I met in Rio de Janeiro:
Gisele Camargo, Tarkovski, 2010, 70 x 235 cm, 4 panels
Gisele Camargo, Tarkovski, 4th panel
Gisele Camargo is the youngest of this group, she works as a studio assistant for Beth Jobim, and shows with Mercedes Viegas Arte Contemoranea in Rio, and with Galeria Oscar Cruz in Sao Paulo. Highly prolific, she often shows groups of dozens of small paintings arranged in a tight grid that runs across the wall and around a corner. While this strategy makes for striking installations, I found myself much more drawn to the complex dynamics and poetry of each individual composition.
Painter, writer, curator, thinker, Luciano Figueiredo divides his time between Rio and southern France. A younger proponent of the Concrete Art impulse, Luciano's recent work involves the painstaking construction of small exquisite geometric objects, made from multiple layers of canvas -- painted, adhered in layers, then cut and folded. While I was visiting his studio, Luciano showed me an amazing catalog from the Museum of Concrete Art (l'Espace de l'Art Concret) near Nice -- comprising the world-class Sybil Albers and Gottfried Honegger collection of reductive painting and sculpture. More images from Luciano's studio to come.
Lucia Laguna makes thick juicy oil paintings that are built intuitively from unlikely juxtapositions of organic and industrial shapes and spaces. Her more simple compositions have the stately elegance of a Diebenkorn, while the more complex pieces evoke a messy collision of technology and entropy. Both modes are supremely sensual, with deep surfaces and luscious color. Lucia shows with Galeria Laura Marsiaj in Rio.
Manfredo de Souzanetto
Manfredo de Souzanetto
Manfredo de Souzanetto makes sensual objects that occupy a shifting passage between pictorial and physical space. Impeccably constructed out of wood, canvas, pigment, his paintings evoke the rhythms and presence of bodies in motion, their surfaces rich with touch. Manfredo has restlessly and deeply explored the ambiguities of this territory, and the inherent poetics of many various materials, for more than 30 years. He will be presenting a major museum show in Rio this fall.
I wish to thank these artists for their time, patience and openness. I look forward to seeing you all again on my next trip. More images from Brazil to come.