We are pleased to present O Círculo e seus amigos [The Circle and its friends], an exhibition by Beatriz Milhazes at Galpão Fortes Vilaça. The Rio de Janeiro artist presents nine new paintings that emphasize, among other things, the optical and chromatic vibration of op art as well as patterns and colors from African tribal origins.
In this series of works, her palette of citric colors and particular use of golden hues gives way to a darker tonality, with the introduction of brown and colors from natural Peruvian pigments. The reference to Op Art, which in previous works appeared indirectly, reappears here in a leading role, in an objective use of optical resources, where lines and circles saturate the plane in a bold juxtaposition of geometric patterns. In the work Potato Dreaming, dominated by tones of pink, wine and ochre, patterns in overlaid bands impart a sense of restlessness and movement to an otherwise rigid structure. In Flores e Árvores the same overlaying is radicalized with the introduction of hollow elements that blend figure and background, without allowing the gaze to establish any hierarchy.
In other compositions the artist presents new flowers as a central element, whose form and structure are derived from the observation of tribal art. In Wild Potato, the central flower disintegrates into organic and somewhat psychedelic high-contrast stripes, on a background of precise geometry in likewise contrasting colors. Igrejinha features the totemic figure of a calla lily activated by electric tones, which in turn are filled by a pattern of irregular circles used recurrently in the works featured on the show.
Milhazes is recognized as one of the greatest artists in activity today; throughout her 30-year career she has developed a unique pictorial vocabulary, where elements of ornamentation are intertwined with the tradition of abstract painting. Questions from repertoires often seen as secondary – the decorative arts, popular art, and Carnival – permeate her work, in which color and geometry are structuring elements. The artist has developed a particular technique in which the paint is applied first on plastic sheets and later transferred to the canvas, thus eliminating the gesture of the brushstroke. This modus operandi gives the artist an enormous capacity for experimentation allied to formal rigor.
Beatriz Milhazes was born in Rio de Janeiro in 1960, where she lives and works. In the last decade, the artist has held important solo shows at prestigious venues which most notably include Quatro Estações, Centro de Arte Moderna – Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian, Portugal, and Panamericano, MALBA, Argentina (2012); Fondation Beyeler, Switzerland (2011); Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain, France (2009); Beatriz Milhazes – Pinturas e Colagens, Pinacoteca do Estado de São Paulo, Brazil (2008); 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Japan, (2004); and Domaine de Kerguéhennec-Centre d’Art Contemporain, France (2003). The artist represented Brazil at the 50th Venice Biennale in 2003, and participated in the 2006 Shanghai Biennial, in China, and at the 24th and 26th editions of the Bienal de São Paulo in 1998 and 2004. Her works figure in the most important collections in the world, including the Museum of Modern Art, New York (MoMA); the Museo Nacional Reina Sofia, Madrid; and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. Meu Bem, a panoramic exhibition of the artist’s oeuvre, which recently ended at the Paço Imperial, in Rio de Janeiro, will travel to the Museu Oscar Niemeyer, Curitiba, opening on November 21, 2013.