Critics’ Picks

Luiz Zerbini, Vento Voa (Wind Flies), 2018, acrylic on canvas, 79 x 118".

Luiz Zerbini, Vento Voa (Wind Flies), 2018, acrylic on canvas, 79 x 118".

Rio de Janeiro

Luiz Zerbini

Rua Jardim Botânico 971
November 24, 2018–January 19, 2019

What landscape is exactly remains a constant concern in Luiz Zerbini’s work. The mood of the Rio-based artist’s earliest paintings, from the 1980s, suggests not only the elation and foreboding with which Brazil regarded its future in the wake of dictatorship, but also the explosion of rock music and new media. Since the 1990s and into this century, Zerbini has engaged the characters, architectural shapes, rhythm, sound, and color of a city where nature is a steadfast presence. Mindful of modernist architecture’s influence in Brazil during the second half of the twentieth century, the artist engages the grid as a component of landscape. Indeed, the grid is the driving force behind the eleven works—paintings, monotypes, and a “sculptural table,” all of them produced between 2017 and 2018—on display.

The modules in his vibrant grids explore images of the sea, horizon, and vegetation along with the feelings they evoke. The delicate way the acrylic paint is laid out on the canvas conveys a vaguely aquatic experience connected to a revelation of textures, all carried out with the simplicity characteristic of the artist. The placement of the monotypes so close to each canvas is sheer perfection: The paintings’ depictions of flowers, leaves, and stems lay bare the human desire to register nature graphically, to play on its colors. Zerbini’s artworks, such as Vento voa (Wind Flies), 2018, layer a new vision of things already seen, exacerbating our doubts about the meaning of landscape and shaking our certainties to the core.

Translated from Portuguese by Jane Brodie.