Monthly Archives: April, 2018

“‘Every work I create is a mathematical dream’ – an interview with Beatriz Milhazes,” By Amandas Ong

Beatriz Milhazes creates colourful compositions in a variety of mediums, inspired by landscape of Brazil and modernist traditions in both Europe and Latin America. She speaks to Amandas Ong about her new exhibition, ‘Rio Azul’, at White Cube in Bermondsey.

‘Rio Azul’ means ‘blue river’ in Portuguese, but it also refers to an important Mayan site in Guatemala. How did you arrive at this title for the exhibition?
It’s the title of the tapestry that’s on display. The idea of a river is probably what inspired me most: in our imagination, rivers are blue, but they can also be any other colour depending on the light. There’s also something magical about rivers because they support life.

It was very difficult to choose a title that could capture the diversity of my work – I paint, I make collages, and now I make tapestries, too. But the tapestry is one of the largest works on display. And in all my work it’s important for me that viewers are able to engage in a dialogue between symbolism and material fact, so I wanted the title to reflect this interaction.

Installation view, ‘Beatriz Milhazes: Rio Azul’ at White Cube, Bermondsey, 2018. Photo: © White Cube (Ollie Hammick); © Beatriz Milhazes

The tapestry is one of a number of works in the show made collaboratively with others. What role does collaboration play in your artistic process?
I’ve always enjoyed and been curious about collaborative effort. I worked with my sister, Marcia Milhazes, to design the set for the performances that she choreographs for her dance company, but was happy for her to make most of the major creative decisions – she’s the one who stages the actual dances.

To make Rio Azul, I had to learn lots about weaving, which is a whole different craft to anything I’d ever done before, so that was fascinating. Collaboration requires a generosity of spirit, and you need to strike a balance between pushing your ideas across and knowing when to be a bit more passive. Because the weavers were the ones who had the technical knowledge to make my dream come to life, I had to make sure they really understood my vision and were on the same page as me.

Installation view, ‘Beatriz Milhazes: Rio Azul’ at White Cube, Bermondsey, 2018. Photo: © White Cube (Ollie Hammick); © Beatriz Milhazes

What it was like working with the master weavers at the Pinton Mill in France to create the tapestry?
I chose the Pinton Mill, who have been operating since 1867, because they had a rich tradition of working with modernist artists like Sonia Delaunay and Alexander Calder. The partnership felt a little like travelling back in time – to work in the same space as Delaunay was a huge honour for me.

I was very impressed by how closely the Pinton family is involved in the creative process, from shearing the wool to dyeing to the actual weaving. It took more than a year to have the tapestry made – and up until the moment when it was unveiled, nobody had seen it in its entirety, even the weavers, because different groups would be participating in the project at any one time. It was a very emotional moment for all of us.

Descriptions of your work often refer to the colours and natural landscape of Brazil. Are these references to your home country deliberate?
The first studio I had was in the same neighbourhood as the botanical gardens in Rio de Janeiro, and so I was constantly surrounded by nature – I think that’s why there are so many tropical colours and so much green in my work. After I became more internationally recognised, it was even more important for me to establish a sense of identity that was tied to home. I’m definitely very attached to my country – I’ve never thought about leaving Brazil because all my friends and family are there.

Goa (2017), Beatriz Milhazes. Photo: © Pepe Schettino; courtesy White Cube. © Beatriz Milhazes

Given the wide range of mediums that you use, do you have a creative philosophy that applies to all of them?
My work centres on the paintings – they’re sort of how I think, and they’re also the most energy-consuming and require the most focus. My collages take up a lot of time, but sourcing the materials is a more varied process. I collect sweet wrappers, silkscreen and holographic papers, and I piece them together.

I’d say that the use of colour is a characteristic that unites my work, which is funny because when I first started out all I wanted to use was white. Now, colour is a way for me to create contrast, drama and mystery. Every work I create is a mathematical dream and colours are a way of emphasising that.

‘Beatriz Milhazes: Rio Azul’ is at White Cube, Bermondsey, until 1 July.

By Amandos Ong, Reprint from Apollo magazine, 24 April 2018, © 2018 Apollo Magazine.

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Vincent van Gogh: Undergrowth with two figures, 1890. Oil on canvas, 19 1/2 x 39 1/4 inches (49.5 x 99.7 cm), Cincinnati Art Museum.

Vincent van Gogh’s (1853-1890) love of nature is well known from his exuberant landscapes of fields of grain, mountainsides, turbulent skies, orchard blossoms to the more humble vignettes of birds, butterflies and lilies. This masterpiece from the Dutchman’s late period was created in Auvers-sur-Oise, France, in June 1890.

It is little known that the marvelous “Undergrowth With Two Figures” is a pendant piece to “Wheat Fields near Auvers,” June 1890, located in the Österreichische Galerie Belvedere of Vienna, Austria. Vincent documents the pendant artworks in a letter to his brother Theo, dated June 24 or 25, 1890. Vincent was to die a tragic and controversial death just days later on July 29, 1890.

Today, I Require Art’s store opens. Eight premium prints produced with our exclusive print partner, Art Authority, of Ashland, OR.

We thought you might like to read some background on each of the works now available.

Questions? Comments?
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David Park: Rehearsal, 1949-1950. Oil on canvas, 46 x 35.75 inches, Oakland Museum of California.

David Park (1911–1960), in 1949, decisively abandoned his work within the prevailing abstract expressionist art movement with a trip to the Berkeley dump. At the time, he was teaching at the California School of Fine Arts, now the San Francisco Art Institute. Park was the first to reassert figurative work and scenes from everyday life into his work. This artistic directional shift from the abstract to the representational, known collectively as the Bay Area Figurative movement, was later pursued by Richard Diebenkorn, Elmer Bischoff, Paul Wonner and others in the Bay Area.

Pauline Napangardi Gallagher: Mina Mina Jukurrpa (Mina Mina Dreaming), 2017. Acrylic on Belgian linen, 152 x 122 cm. 1798/17ny. © Warlukurlangu Artists.

Pauline Napangardi Gallagher (b. 1952), paints Pikilyi Jukurrpa (Pikilyi Dreaming) and Mina Mina Jukurrpa (Mina Mina Dreaming), Dreamings that relate to her land, its features and animals.

At first glance, contemporary Aboriginal paintings appear to be straightforward abstract artworks, but they derive from the rich heritage of their forbears. Stories passed down over countless generations of their origins, traditions of body painting and notable geographical features of their territories translate into intricate, vibrant visual patterns.

Marcus Jansen: Typewriter, 2007. Oils on paper, 14 x 17 inches. © Marcus Jansen.

Marcus Jansen – New Horizons. Mit den Waffen der Malerei
February 10 – April 15, 2018
Museum Zitadelle Berlin, Germany
Bastion Kronprinz

I Require Art:
No. 44, Interview: Marcus Jansen

Jansen’s first museum introduction to Europe was at the Triennale di Milano Museum in 2016 where the artist was noted in the Italian press as one of the top ten shows to be seen in Italy alongside Basquiat and Monet. Jansen has also been referred to as “one of the most important American painters of his generation” by two time Documenta Kassel curator, Prof Manfred Schneckenburger in his recently published book “Marcus Jansen. Aftermath” (Hirmer Publishers, Munich).

Odilon Redon: The Buddha, c. 1905. Pastel on paper, 90 x 73 cm, Musée d’Orsay.

The symbolism of Odilon Redon (1840-1916) transports. His mind — magical. Whether roaming through the peculiar and compelling dark world of oddities in his “noirs,” or his later works of sublime floral vistas, the imagery of his subjective visions intoxicates. Late in his career, a number of works reflect a strong interest in Japonism and eastern religions, particularly Hinduism and Buddhism. Here, we see one of his several exquisite visions of the Buddha, c. 1905.

Jacob Lawrence: Migration Panel 18, Migration Series (60 panels), 1941. Tempera on gesso on composition board, 18 x 12 inches, Museum of Modern Art, NY.

Jacob Lawrence (1917-2000), grew up in Harlem at a time when the neighborhood, stories of individuals and of a people, mattered. No doubt, this formative period during the Harlem Renaissance for Lawrence, as a young man and as an artist, charted his direction.

“The community [in Harlem] let me develop … I painted the only way I knew how to paint … I tried to put the images down the way I related to the community … I was being taught … to see.” (Jacob Lawrence)

He often painted in series. His Migration Series (1940-1941) of 60 panels is the story of the massive movement of over a million African Americans from the rural South to the urban North between World War I and World War II. The Museum of Modern Art has granted rare permission to issue a print edition of Migration Panel 18.

“To me, migration means movement. There was conflict and struggle. But out of the struggle came a kind of power and even beauty. ‘And the migrants kept coming’ is a refrain of triumph over adversity. If it rings true for you today, then it must still strike a chord in our American experience.” (Jacob Lawrence)

Bob Parent: Charlie Parker with (l-r) Charles Mingus, Roy Haynes and Thelonious Monk, The Greatest Night in Jazz?, Open Door, New York, NY, September 13, 1953.

On September 13, 1953, bebop legend Charlie Parker, was on the bandstand at the Open Door in New York City’s Greenwich Village. Thelonious Monk, Charles Mingus and Roy Haynes shared the stage with the great Bird in what many have said was the greatest night in jazz. Bob Parent’s landmark photograph is available here.

Hans Hofmann, Summer Night’s Bliss, 1961. Oil on canvas, 84 x 78 inches, The Baltimore Museum of Art. © Renate, Hans & Maria Hofmann Trust / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.

Such a colorist! Hans Hofmann (1880-1966), notable as an abstract artist, influential teacher and author, is the progenitor of the “push and pull” technique of manipulating color, form and texture to create the illusion of depth, space and movement eschewing representational forms.

“Art is to me the glorification of the human spirit, and as such it is the cultural documentation of the time in which it is produced.” (Hans Hofmann)

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