Beatriz Milhazes: " Marolo"

Marotoloco, Beatriz Milhazes, 2014-2015
We all Still Believed, Deborah Druick, 2015

How fortunate I was to catch the last day of an arresting exhibition in New York of Beatriz Milhazes, a Brazilian abstract artist painting in acrylic. The title of the show at the James Cohan Gallery was Marola, which refers to the ripples in the water that come after the passing of a large wave. That is just what the paintings presented: reverberating rhythms of water, and undulating bodies of color, layer upon layer. You could feel Brazil’s lush tropical vegetation with blooming flowers and the riotous Carnival colors. These exotic colorations are not merely decorative but do touch on the countries colonial legacy as well as both feminist and social issues. Milhazes developed an interesting painting transfer technique in the 1990’s, in which she glued separate images executed in acrylic paint onto the canvas. These were images of flowers, arabesques, lace patterns and swirling discs painted onto sheets of plastic, allowed to dry and then adhered to her canvases in the spirit of collage, plastic decals and graffiti. The results of this layering are surfaces rich in texture that have an appearance of having aged. The influence of Matisse, Sonia Delaunay and Bridget Riley in the geometries, optical compositions and dancing forms are strongly apparent.

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