A DECELERATED GAZE. ANGÉLICA DE MORAES
Mariana Palma creates a singular and powerful painting. One of those rare ones that we catch sight of, try to follow further, but are not able to. The eye is captivated by this whirlpool of kaleidoscopic planes and colors. It will never be satiated with examining the highly detailed colorful surfaces, which boldly and shamelessly assume the contemporary heresy of realizing something beautiful.
Beauty is a tool for the perception. The artist believes in and enjoys being gentle on the viewers’ gaze, enthralling it, making it linger and delve deeper. An effective articulation of fragments provides the structure for her pictorial language, which operates through contrasts or through harmony, with either colors or planes, textures or perspectives. Thus, it makes the gaze come and go between the epidermis and the deepest level of paint. Everything has its own presence, and yet at the same time is part of the whole.
It is clear that Mariana has no patience for precariousness arising from calculation nor for disorientation by lack of technique. She painstakingly seeks to master the tools of her trade. A seductive painting, however, does not mean an easy painting. Mariana Palma takes an intelligent approach to the challenge of post-Matisse oil painting, which is no small feat. She produces striking canvases of patterns resembling stamped cloth and draped multicolored fabrics, with a fine-tuned congruence of color.
The accumulation is not an excess but rather an exercise of balance. The baroque roots are clear. The precise coloration evinces close relations with the history of painting and, especially, with the Flemish masters. When seen from close up, these elements denote the contemporary root of the image, cross influenced by the close-up and zoom shot of the photographic camera. The fragmentation points to another characteristic of contemporaneity: the avalanche of images, the impossibility of seeing everything, and thus the need to see a little at a time.
Her new series of works, with a verticalized visuality, refines and renews a prosaic technique used for decorating paper – marbling. By floating the paints in water, the artist obtains sinuous patterns that she applies and overlays in rhythmic bands in space. It is a tribute to informal abstraction, full of the freshness and lack of preconceptions of someone who does not believe in the apartheid between fine arts and applied arts.
Her watercolors seem to accelerate the gaze. The entire image is captured at a single blow, but the strangeness of what is seen also beckons for accurate examination. Unlikely vegetal syntheses refer to the male/female dyad, in combinations of erotic charge that recall the botanical taxonomy of the 16th-century traveling artists who depicted the New World. This beautiful series of works seems to indicate that the affective relations of contemporaneity – another new world – are fertile in hybridisms, defying any sort of rigid classification. This exhibition affirms the technical and poetic consistency of a young painter who is already a key player in the current art scene.