THE HISTORY OF NOW: THE COLLECTION OF DAVID TEIGER SOLD TO BENEFIT TEIGER FOUNDATION FOR THE SUPPORT OF CONTEMPORARY ART
Marrying geometric abstraction and organic and natural forms, Milhazes’ compositions such as the present Avenida Brasil furiously overwrite, erase and reveal a dense landscape of symbols, patterns and geometric shapes through successive gestural layering. Grounded by a simple underlying structure of squares, circles, and repeated vertical lines, Avenida Brasil expressively unravels across the horizontal picture plane into a cacophony of vibrantly colored, variably fractured images. Juxtaposing abstraction and ornate patterned motifs, Milhazes culls her imagery and motifs from a wide and diverse array of sources that include Brazilian and American culture, tropical fauna and flora, lace latticework, arabesque patterns, carnival décor, musical compositions, and Colonial baroque architecture. Greatly influenced by her art historical fore-bears, both Western European and Latin American, Milhazes here pays tribute to such 20th century masters as Henri Matisse, Wassily Kandinksy, Piet Mondrian, Tarsila do Amaral, Oswald de Andrade, and Robert Delaunay. In particular, the vibrant eruptions of flowers against an insistently flat background call to mind such masterpieces as Matisse’s Harmony in Red, in which similarly starkly black vines stretch languorously across a colorful backdrop.
With its overlapping planes of vegetal and humanly-wrought forms, Avenida Brasil draws the urban and the natural into a fruitful union. To create the present work, Milhazes begins by painting her vibrantly colored abstract composition on a transparent plastic sheet, which she then applies directly to canvas. Once dried, Milhazes removes the plastic sheet from the canvas, leaving a residual layer of dried paint on the canvas, which becomes the first layer of the composition. Milhazes then repeats this process numerous times to create a multilayered picture whose medium and process of production dutifully captures in the final composition a meticulous record of its own creation. In compositions such as Avenida Brasil, Milhazes champions herself as an urban explorer who is exceptionally attentive to the local yet infinitely global rhythms of contemporary life across time and space. Through its innumerable mesmeric collaged layers and vibrant hues, Avenida Brasil strikes a tenuous balance between harmony and dissonance, cohesion and chaos, diversity and uniformity.
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