Critics’ Picks

Thomaz Rosa, Miss Lexotan 6 mg, 2019, oil and plaster on canvas, 59 x 59".

Thomaz Rosa, Miss Lexotan 6 mg, 2019, oil and plaster on canvas, 59 x 59".


Thomaz Rosa

Via Vincenzo Gioberti 1
April 2–May 4, 2019

The nine paintings by Brazilian artist Thomaz Rosa on view in this Milan loft space are so varied in size and workmanship that they don’t look like they were all created by the same hand. Rosa references his seemingly haphazard research process in the show’s title, “Intorno Alla Mia Cattiva Educazione” (About My Bad Education), which he borrowed from a 1974 song by an Italian progressive rock band, Alusa Fallax, that he discovered on YouTube. Instead of developing an easily identifiable, personal stylistic cipher, Rosa annotates art-historical homages with the imponderability of chance and personal memories (such as a reclamation of materials from his time as an assistant to painter Lucas Arruda). These are then applied as initial matrices for collages or transposed onto sizable canvas. A large monochrome in plum, Miss Lexotan 6 mg, 2019, with an apparent combustion in its lower right corner, salutes artists Alberto Burri and Lucio Fontana; the gash strikes a chord similar to those in Fontana’s celebrated “La fine di Dio” (The End of God) works. In canvases such as Relevo 2 (Replacement), 2019, the surface is divided precisely with adhesive tape, creating a rupture in the compositional schema. In A river ain’t too much to love, 2018, chromatic flecks of paint build up to a Pollockian chiaroscuro. Although it is difficult to pinpoint a common stylistic thread in these works, a certain coherence in the interaction of materials and techniques reveals a narrative anarchy that serves as a perfect mirror to contemporary society, and all its markings of compulsive accumulation, chaos, and arbitrary freedoms.

Translated from Italian by Marguerite Shore.