November-December 2014 … The Global Online Magazine of Arts, Information & Entertainment … Volume 10, Number 6
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3 Artists from Brazil

Priscila De Carvalho

“Off-duty Militias” | 2008 | 24″ x 34″ x 2 1/2″

Acrylic, ink, foamcore, photo collage, sharpie on canvas

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Gersony Silva

 Simultaneous Outbreaks |  2010 | 0.64×0.75m – 1 of 4 pieces

   Printed mirror vitrine 

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Duda Penteado

Glocallica Series XXIII | 2010 | 100 X 100 CM (39″ X 39″)

Acrylic on canvas

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Three “Hot” Brazilian Artists

 

Priscila De Carvalho, Duda Penteado, and Gersony Silva:

Caught Up in the “WE ARE YOU PROJECT INTERNATIONAL’s”

Emerging Global Initiative(s)!

By   Dr. José Rodeiro

 Anyone with a full “art historical” understanding of emergent contemporary Brazilian visual art in both the United States of America and Brazil would instantly affirm that the dominant “stars” (in terms of popularity in the USA) are Vik Muniz, Romero Britto, Priscila De Carvalho, Duda Penteado and Gersony Silva.  Recently, in the USA, these five prominent Brazilian 21st Century transvanguard visual artists are ubiquitously affecting American culture within the context of US Latinization.   What is fascinating (about these five Brazilian artists) is that their art often reflects current urban themes such as over-population, class-segregation, alienation, globalization, the body, self-gratification and individualism. Yet, these urban themes are pursued by each of these Brazilian artists with distinctive character and personality.   For example, all five have a history of large public-works and community projects, while Britto (with his Leger-esque signature-style of thick black lines surrounding pure-hues, connoting tropical delectation) appears less drawn to or affected by Brazil’s recent “national” propensity for cooperative communal artistic endeavors (i.e., articulations and/or interventionist art – both concepts are defined and described in the next paragraph).  Nevertheless, Britto has become a cottage-industry, whose fashionable designs appear everywhere.  On the other-hand (like Vik Muniz), Duda Penteado also generates cooperative public-projects, actions (“Neo-Happenings”), and other civic or group-endeavors; although, he also creates fascinating, lyrical, highly-imaginative imagery, which ingeniously examines Apocalyptic “&/or” prophetic Bosch-like realms in a vibrant Picasso-esque style reminiscent of Belgian CoBrA-master Pierre Alechinsky, as well as Puerto-Rican Neo-Surrealist Epson Espada.

In the early 21st Century, Brazil’s various artistic communities were encouraged to create large-scale Post-Fluxus (“Neo-NeoDada”) Articulations and Interventionist Art works, involving thousands of participants in the formation of the “work.”   Of course, the focus on “art-as-work,” “process,” or “making” over “finished product” is a throwback to the Neo-Marxist “socialist” aesthetic ideas of Harold Rosenberg, Joseph Beuys, and other social action-oriented concerns and methods, which also manifested in Brazil, as a variant of action-art, in the late-1960s and early 1970s as evidenced by urban group-performances orchestrated by Lygia Clark and Lygia Pape and other major Brazilian contemporary masters.  Ideally, these group projects involve large cohorts of people; neighborhoods, districts, “art-communes,” “teams” or “art collectives.”   Ultimately, the Articulations and/or Interventionist Art dream (or “wish”) was to get the entire nation of Brazil (or, ideally an even bigger, or greater democratic “geo-estetica” ambition, aesthetically involving a la Kant “everyone on earth”) engaged in creating one work (or one activity).   For example, Penteado in collaboration with Mario Tapia (Chilean-American) and Dr. Carlos Hernandez (Puerto-Rican American) creating a coast-to-coast national US-art endeavor known as the “WE ARE YOU PROJECT INTERNATIONAL” exhibit, an enormous art movement-esque work of art that simultaneously combined film, visual art, poetry, music, performance-art, socio-political-activism, etc., which had implications throughout both the USA and all of the Americas, drawing in (directly or indirectly) three prominent Brazilian artists: Priscila De Carvalho, Duda Penteado, and Gersony Silva.

In a way, Vik Muniz’s enormous Waste Land garbage-portraits (with images derived from art history), reflect similar Brazilian collectivist artistic-strivings (communally creating a vast Intervention and/or massive public Articulation); although, in the end, the entire work (“series of images”)  is/are (nevertheless) indicative of an individual vision, which is clearly identified as a “work-of-art” created both directly and indirectly by Vik Muniz, by means of his remarkable vision, and a talented crew of assistants, including randomly selected on-site “garbage-pickers.”   Ideally, perhaps, in time, the whole nation of Brazil will do a universal Interventionist piece, presumably during the Brazilian Olympics; or during the Brazilian World Cup, or maybe during some future unforeseen enormous “Carnival.”

Today, the “hottest” Brazilian Artists in the USA that are manifesting profound awareness of the “WE ARE YOU PROJECT INTERNATIONAL’s” emerging global initiative(s) are Priscila De Carvalho, Duda Penteado, and Gersony Silva.  These three highly-gifted masters will be examined “alphabetically” (below)against the background of the We Are You Project International, aptly described throughout this URL: http://www.weareyouproject.org/6201.html.

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Priscila De Carvalho

“Settlements” | August, 2010 | Medium:  39″ x 58″ 

Enamel, acrylic, ink, permanent maker, photograph collage on canvas

Priscila De Carvalho

Fresh from her 2011 Museum of Modern Art’s PS-1”Studio Visit” selection, Priscila De Carvalho displayed her art at the Museo del Barrio’s 2011-2012 “Bienal.” Born in Brazil in 1975, De Carvalho attended The City College of San Francisco, as well as UC Berkeley. Additionally, she attended New York City’s Art Students League.

Priscila De Carvalho

As one of the leading lights of Brazilian visual art in the USA, she was awarded the fêted Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant, as well as attaining support from Artist in the Market Place at Bronx Museum, Queens Council on The Arts Fund, along with an Aljira Emerge 10 Fellowship. She has held artist-residencies at Jamaica Center for the Arts and Learning, and at Utica, New York’s Sculpture Space.  In recent years, major exhibits of her art abound, including a solo-show at the Jersey City Museum, and other shows at The Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Arts, Pulse Art Fair in New York, Pinta Art Fair in London (UK), Deutsche Bank and various other respected galleries and museums. Her involvement in the WE ARE YOU PROJECT INTERNATIONAL exhibition (2012-2018) is reflected in her remarkable image titled: Off-Duty Militias (2008, acrylic, pencil, ink, foam, photograph collage on canvas, 24″ x 34″ x 1/2″ (Collection of the artist)).

Via her 2008 image “Off-Duty Militias,” De Carvalho creates a work that combines various media including acrylic, vinyl, permanent marker, pencil, and photo collage. In her imagery, De Carvalho creates fantastic worlds in which colors, forms, and elements of fantasy all meld together.  The work combines the influence of Pop Art, Spanish Informalism, the monumentality of mural painting, and a reverence for architectural forms.  With these varied sources, the artist overlays a complex variety of objects and shapes together, creating a frenetic, turbulent, escalating and heavily laden urban landscape.

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Priscila De Carvalho / 3 Artists from Brazil

View larger photos from the gallery please enter the FS button.

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She is perhaps most inspired by the ever-expanding and sprawling urban growth in the cities of her native Brazil, particularly the labyrinthine favelas rapidly encircling Rio de Janeiro.  Revealing the sense of a huge population constantly on the move, her works are marked by intense colors and the upward-thrusting  lines of ever-present winding streets and stairways.  When confronting her improvised shanty vedutes, some Anglo-American viewers occasionally invoke Led Zeppelin’s haunting lyrics to Stairway To Heaven.   Importantly, in her piece Off Duty Militias, she was inspired by gang-driven drug-trafficking in the slums of Brazil, as well as the  innate (or inherent) theme(s) of superfluous make-shift fence-building projects, connoting human-separation amid chaotic barriers and watchtowers, which directly relate to the current surge of “rightwing” ethno-racist US-border issues along the Rio Grande and Sonoran Desert.

Beyond the acclaimed exhibits and awards already described above, De Carvalho has also shown in UC Praxis International Art Gallery in New York, Gallery 64 Bis in Paris, France, and in Deutsche Bank, the AIM Program at the Bronx Museum Biennial and at the (S) Files’ “Bienal” of El Museo del Barrio, New York, NY.   Her work has been reviewed by The New York Times (August 2009), Art Aldia International (March 09), Art Nexus (August 2009) and many others publications. Further information on Priscila De Carvalho is available at http://momaps1.org/studio-visit/artist/priscila-de-carvalho  and: http://www.priscilasoffice.com/ .

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Duda Penteado

Glocallica Series XXX | 2010 | 110 X 130 CM (43″X 53″)

 Acrylic on canvas

Duda Penteado

Duda Penteado’s innovative and revolutionary Glocallica Series affords viewers rich undulating waves of dark Lorca-esque duende, encompassing (in 2012) some of the Brazilian master’s most intriguing imagery to date.  In the Series, his use of hands and feet allude to Oscar Niemeyer’s giant 1985 Memorial to the Americas’s hand sculpture (Sao Paulo, Brazil).

Duda Penteado, The Bird of Revelation Installation. Photo credit: Eric Lehrer

Art historically, Penteado’s emerging Glocallica imagery implicitly alludes to a mere handful of exceptional duende-filled abstract works that were created since 1945  by approximately eight modern masters: Pablo Picasso’s heroic post-War Charnel House Series examining the Jewish Holocaust; Pierre Alechinsky’s Cobra imagery; Franz Kline’s action-paintings; the renowned Ecuadorian painter and sculptor Oswaldo Guayasamín, as well as the New York School Abstract Expressionist artists: Robert Motherwell, Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko and William Baziotes.   From these eight modern masters, it is clear that Penteado’s Glocallica Series references Federíco García-Lorca’s theory of the duende (a term best defined in this URL:  http://duende-art.com/page1.html), which also lurks behind Motherwell’s Elegies to the Spanish Republic, as well as probing Rothko’s two astounding aesthetic ideas: 1). The Sublime in visual art, and 2). The tragio-dramatic in visual art, which pertain to recent Penteado Glocallica works.
Consequently, as an intrepid manifestation of the “here-&-now,” (and, in devotion to Lorca’s duende-present: the “now”) each Glocallica image simultaneously represents what Salvador Dalí characterized as timeless binaries or dichotomous conflict(s) between the legi intimus and the legi promiscuitus; with both boldly battling (in the present) to join the local and the global (the street and the universe), the intimate and the distant.   Hence, Penteado’s Glocallica Series constantly unites in the eternal-present both the “far-flung” and the “very close,” connecting them together with what Martin Luther King called, “The fierce urgency of now.”    Hence,  against the empty-void of today’s dismal and fruitless Neo-Philistine ‘Malthusian-world,’ which appears perpetually caught between constant war(s); pending  global Depression(s); imminent man-made disasters, and unavoidable pandemics, Penteado erects a symbolic large “tree-like” HAND(s) branching, grasping, reaching and struggling.  By means of these heroic hand-images, The Glocallica Series valiantly confronts myriad Neo-Philistine-adversaries, for whom he symbolically raises an emblematic hand to stand like a tree against them.  This emblematic hand has root-like feet and branches resembling fingers.  This anthropomorphized “hand-tree” has humanoid features: feet-roots, branch-arms, branch fingers, and other human characteristics, which brilliantly derive from Oscar Niemeyer’s giant 1985 Memorial to the Americas’s hand sculpture (Sao Paulo, Brazil).  And, through the depiction of that emblematic black/white hand(s), Penteado reveals humanity’s urgent need for greater feeling, emotion, imagination, spirituality, love and redemption.  Throughout The Bible, hands and feet often play significant roles that relate to each of these above-stated aspirations. For example, in The Apocalypse, St. John the Evangelist describes his heartfelt reaction during his first glimpse of the risen Christ, saying:

“I fell at his feet as though I was dead, but he placed his right hand on me and said, ‘Do not be afraid! I am the First and the Last, and the one who lives! I was dead, but look, now I am alive – forever and ever – and I hold the keys of death and the dead” (Rev.1-17).

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Duda Penteado / 3 Artists from Brazil

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Furthermore, due to its firm-grounding in Lorca-esque Duende, The Glocallica Series stands as a viable antidote against contemporary visual-art’s and contemporary life’s mundane daily grind (or present-struggle), Glocallica’s symbolic hand is the tragic-sublime Mark Rothko-esque and Motherwell-esque “heroic-shape” confronting a host of iniquitous villains (i.e., the zealous post-industrialists, the hyper-conceptualists, the fanatic-anarchists, the anti-visceralists/anti-emotive non-humans, anti-art anti-artists, the enemies of human-civilization, the terrorists, the pro-mechanistic techno-militants, the outcomes-obsessed educators and the foes of “true Hegelian-faith,” who attempt to replace ART and SPIRITUALITY with their glib fixation on hyper-media, hyper-technology, gluttonous-capitalism, fanatic false-religiosity and bogus non-faith; or even worse, unwarranted faith in mere science, sybaritic machines, or totalitarianism (especially the current glut of malevolent religio-despots addicted to fatality and their mindless congregations (“the herd”)); as well as all other illicit 21st Century vulgarities and criminal excesses (i.e., a banquet of fiscal greed; transgenic art (bio-art); regurgitated Neo-Dada conceptualizations, and other spurious attacks on primordial and eternal human values).  To all these lugubrious stupidities and evils, The Glocallica Series says, “NO!”  Furtively, all this Glocallican-negativity is actually a positive affirmation of human life, faith, love and art.  Also, most importantly for Penteado, Brazil (itself) is a manifestation (or a constant reminder) of God’s outstretched hands symbolic of what really matters to all people living on the planet Earth: human life, human faith, human love and human art.

Penteado was born in São Paulo in 1968, and studied at FIAM – SP.  Throughout the 1990, he  exhibited in Brazil, then he moved to New York City, where he obtained a position at Muriel Studio in Soho, NYC (NY) as an assistant to Sheila Marbain, the inventor of a new “silk monotype” technique, which was employed by many leading contemporary artists.  Active in both Brazil and the USA as well as in Europe throughout the late-1990s and the early 21st Century, he showed in The Jersey City Museum, Jersey City, NJ; Biennale Internazionale Dell’Arte Contemporanea, Florence, Italy, 2009; Monique Goldstrom Gallery, NYC; The Museum of Art and Origins, Harlem, NYC (NY); BACI-The Brazilian American Cultural Institute, Washington, DC; Museo de Las Americas, Denver, CO; CITYarts 272nd Mural, “Nature is Love on Earth”, New York City Department of Parks & Recreation, The St. John’s Recreation Center, Crown Heights, Brooklyn, NYC, 2008, 2009; Brooklyn College, Brooklyn, NY, New Jersey City University, Jersey City, NJ, Kean University, Union, NJ; Monmouth University, West Long Branch, NJ; Stevens Institute of Technology, Hoboken, NJ; Drew University, Madison, NJ; Middlebury College, Vermont; UFES- Universidade Estadual do Espírito Santo, Vitoria, ES; UNESP-Universidade Estadual Paulista, SP, and SESC – SP.

He was President of the Artist Certification Board, Jersey City, NJ, until 2010. Received awards and recognition from various institutions in the United States, including: Urban Artist Fellowship Award, Vermont Studio Center, Johnson, VT; Goldman Sachs Student Art Project Grant, Jersey City, NJ (2006, 2007, 2008); Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, The Robert Flaherty Film Seminar, Claremont, CA; Special Guest for Artistic Achievement & Commitment to YMCA Greater, NY-Youth, NYC; American Graphic Design Award, Interactive Multimedia Installation, NYC; Humanitarian Award from the Hudson County Chapter of the American Conference on Diversity, Jersey City, NJ, and received a Kappa Pi International Honorary Art Fraternity Award, Eta Rho Chapter, New Jersey City University, Jersey City, NJ.  Along with Mario Tapia and Dr. Carlos Hernandez, he has been at the helm of the We Are You Project since 2005.   For more about Penteado art and career explore this URL: http://www.dudapenteado.com/ .

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Gersony Silva

Your wave: The other side | 2008 |  1.80 x 1.50 m

 Object-art / scene – wood, laminated print  blanket styrofoam, mirror, lights 

Gersony Silva

Born in Sao Paulo, Brazil in 1973, Gersony Silva lives and works in her native city.  She studied fine arts at the Academy of Fine Arts, Sao Paulo, Brazil.   Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, she also attended the Pontifical Catholic University (SP), The University of Sao Paulo, and The Art School of The Museum of Art of Sao Paulo.

She has exhibited extensively in Brazil, Spain, the USA, and other locations that are listed in her Website: http://www.gersony.com.br/v4/  As a child, she bravely faced a debilitating illness, precipitating the onset of possible early paralysis.

Silva and Rodeiro

Gersony Silva with Dr. José Rodeiro

Intrepidly, as a way to confront her illness, she studied classical dance – as a therapeutic means to strengthen her body.   This shamanic awareness of the therapeutic power of art resides in her spectacular creations as a means of promoting (enhancing) her well-being, and by so doing, also enhancing (like a true shaman) the vigor and vitality of everyone around her.  In the fall of 2011, she participated in various We Are You Project events in Brazil, achieving a friendship with Duda Penteado and other members of the US-based We Are You Project sojourning in Brazil

Ultimately, the highly insightful and provocative imagery of contemporary Brazilian master Gersony Silva represents a stunning, intriguing, and poetic art, which is often self-referential, highly evocative, and frequently focuses on various parts of her body (e.g., knees, feet, elbows, joints, toes, folds, bends, curves and other corporeal components).  She pursues this uncompromising analysis of her body via various “cinematic” sequences of images that rely on unique perspectives, distortions, perceptions, symmetrical mirroring(s), repetitions, manipulation(s) and adaptations.   Her straightforward and monumental abstract designs hint at motion, choreographed movement, and dance.  Yet, as all great artists, she has a well-spring of allusions to art history, which are ingeniously evident throughout her work, proving Pablo Picasso’s maxim that, “Mediocre artists borrow; but, great artists steal!”

Among the contemporary artists that are significant to her, we find Georgia O’Keeffe, Louise Bourgeois, Rebecca Horn and Anish Kapoor.  This brief critique will examine each of these art historical allusions, as well as Silva’s unique relationship to Ana Mendieta.   For example, the exquisite and inviting overlays of bending and folding flower-petals in O’Keeffe’s various “Flower” images reemerge in the sensual bends and folds inhabiting Silva’s signature monumental monochromatic dark blue installation-pieces, as well as manifesting in the Brazilian’s assorted conceptual body-oriented photographic series’ figural-elements, which from time to time suggest Alfred Stieglitz’s famous 1930s photographic-analysis (series) of every part of his wife’s (O’Keeffe’s) body.

Also, of equal significance (to Silva) are Bourgeois’s courageous erotically-charged sculptures representing abstracted (organic-surreal) humanoid or mutated genitalia-forms or genitalia-beings, which allude to the Brazilian’s conceptual-photographic manipulations of her own body-parts (e.g., knees, feet, elbows, joints, toes, folds, bends, curves and other components).  The use of light and shadow in Silva’s installations have a direct relationship to the dramatic lighting effects spotlighting captivating performances and installations by Rebecca Horn.  Like Silva, the German-born artist Horn is a master of properly lit astounding performances and installations.  Permeating Silva’s work is a profound concern for color (chromatic hue); shimmering and high-key surface-effects, utilizing design precision (meticulousness); these above-mentioned elite or “classic” qualities are equally pervasive in the works of Anish Kapoor, the Anglo-Indian contemporary sculptor and installation-artist.

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Gersony Silva / 3 Artists from Brazil

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 Due to Silva’ fascination with her own anatomy, her flesh, and her own distinct physiology, several astute art critics and art historians refer to her as the “Ana Mendieta of Brazil.”   Like the acclaimed Cuban Performance-artist and Body-artist (who died tragically in 1985), Silva’s art documents, (through a variety of more-or-less performance-esque method(s)) the function(s) of each part of her body, which she specifically portrays, circumspectly investigating each organic element as a constituent part of a vital living organism with a unique history and essential life, thereby comprising or deriving from a indispensable being known as “Gersony Silva.”  Via these cinematic documentary series that reflect her sublime self awareness and self actualization, she carefully illuminates and/or describes the way that each aesthetically diagnosed part of her inimitable living organism function(s).

Unlike the hyper-expressionistic oeuvre of Mendieta, Silva’s gorgeous, classical, elegant and “muse-filled” imagery is far less raw, gory, or as agonizing as the extremely chthonic feminist performance pieces that Mendieta’s duende conjured-up.    Despite this one significant difference, both Mendieta and Silva manifest four essential art historical similarities, which are:  1). a general reliance on their own body as the subject of their art, as well as 2). creating works that exude a sublime self-awareness and self actualization, revealing 3).  a shamanic need to create animistic rituals that invoke greater health and well-being for themselves and the world.   Lastly, both artists bravely 4). challenge monotonous and entrenched “merely” Minimalist aesthetic trends in the late-1960s and 1970s, which included such mind-numbing “minimal” artists as Carl Andre, Donald Judd, Sol LeWitt, etc., etcetera.

Lastly, throughout the USA, in the 21st Century, enclaves of Brazilian artists are working alongside US-Latinos in their collaborative struggle for US civil rights and equality.  For example, in the above critique, three Brazilian artists (Priscila De Carvalho, Duda Penteado and Gersony Silva) are involved directly or indirectly with the We Are You Project International (“WAY Project”).   The best way to define this 21st Century WAY Project initiative in terms of Brazil and all of Latin America would be to recall that twice in 1936 and again in 1943, Joaquin Torres-García (in Montevideo, Uruguay) portrayed America’s Southern Hemisphere utilizing an Antarctic-perspective, as though an anticipated polar-inversion [(anticipated around every 640,000 years)] had transpired.  In fact, he wrote “Polo S” across the top of both drawings, entreating viewers to adopt this “new” South Pole point-of-view.   The We Are You Project endeavors the same drastic reorientation of Latino cultural and artistic values, asking Latino artists throughout the world to rediscover their own culture and to confront (in their art) all the socio-political and economic issues that affect all Latinos.   Hence, “WAY” is a courageous Sisyphean effort to address (via art) the myriad 21st Century opportunities, restrictions, and risks, which all Latinos (i.e. Brazilians) face.

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About the author:

Dr. José Rodeiro is Coordinator of Art History, Art Department, New Jersey City University. A deconstruction of his recent painting, “Hips don’t lie,” appeared in Ragazine, Volume 8, Number 2.