Critics’ Picks

Maria Nepomuceno, Untitled, 2013, bricks, beads, pipes, dimensions variable.

Maria Nepomuceno, Untitled, 2013, bricks, beads, pipes, dimensions variable.

Rio de Janeiro

Maria Nepomuceno

A Gentil Carioca
Rua Gonçalves Ledo, 11/17 sobrado
December 13, 2013–February 15, 2014

In her latest solo exhibition, artist Maria Nepomuceno displays her distinct vocabulary by incorporating artisanal elements, such as weavings, vases, beads, bricks, and ceramics, in the works on view. Figuration and abstraction are mixed into an aesthetic that brings to mind certain aspects of the work of another Brazilian artist, Ernesto Neto; Nepomuceno’s use of color emerges organically as the body is engaged not only in the final work but also in the process of its making. When speaking of artisanal, one speaks of using one’s hands—an act in which artist and work complement one another, and work and spectator are brought together. This is fundamental to Nepomuceno’s poetics.

In Untitled (all works cited, 2013), a cascade of beads falls onto bricks, creating a sort of lagoon. Here, Nepomuceno’s landscape is chromatically rich. She appears to have no fear of the baroque or the tropical before contemporary Brazilian art, where a tradition of synthetic constructivism prevails. In another untitled work, a pictorial question is once again addressed through the use of pastel-colored sticks that emerge from a wall of bricks, which serves as a kind of canvas. It is no surprise, then, that this exhibition is an ode to the nostalgia of painting, a language present one way or another throughout the artist’s oeuvre. Nepomuceno makes painting her own as she stretches out time in manual work as well as the collision between artist and material.

Translated from Portuguese by Jane Brodie.