Galeria Jaqueline Martins is pleased to present Incomplete… a group exhibition inspired by the recent conversation between Robert Barry and Ricardo Basbaum, arranged as part of our online Interview Program. The show features works by Ana Mazzei, Charbel Joseph H. Boutros, Lydia Okumura, Philippe Van Snick, Regina Vater, Ricardo Basbaum and Robert Barry. Incomplete… borrows its title from a work specifically developed by Robert Barry for his 2019 solo show at Galeria Jaqueline Martins in São Paulo.
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The exhibition highlights a selection of works who in the individuality of their expression testify to the wide range of media and styles that reaffirm the importance of imagination, speculation and public participation in the construction and the incorporation of subjects that permeate contemporary works of art. Incomplete… showcases artists from different generations and, in collaboration with the Philippe van Snick Estate, draw the first connections among a Belgium artist and the gallery program.
1º Vozes Agudas Award for Women Artists
1º Vozes Agudas Award for Women Artists
This show is the outcome of a tandem effort by several women: the members of feminist collective Vozes Agudas, of the independent space Ateliê397, and the collectors, collaborators and partner institutions that have supported us in this project to provide a platform that will afford visibility to women artists. A special thanks goes to Galeria Jaqueline Martins, which enabled the most relevant of all actions in this long award process, here in the city of São Paulo, by loaning us their facilities and staff.
The 1st Prêmio Vozes Agudas para Mulheres Artistas (High-Register Voices Award for Women Artists) was a call for entries put out in the second half of 2020. We got 830 portfolio submissions from different parts of the country, sent in by women under different realities and conditions, whose work and research relies on different languages. The volume and variety of works was such that it became clear we would need (and we would manage) to broaden up our intake process. In addition to the three winners, we have also been able to offer two honorable mentions, and to host a group show curated from the portfolios submitted.
The jury (composed of women agents active in the art scene) picked out the artists Laryssa Machada a resident of Bahia, Massuelen Cristina, of Minas Gerais, and Mônica Coster, who currently lives in Rio de Janeiro. Honorable mentions went out to the Terroristas del Amor collective out of Ceará and to the transvestite artist Vulcanica Pokaropa of São Paulo. These artists’ outputs are informed with aspects of urgency our time, providing a starting point for our approach to the exhibition, since we reckon that our job as a feminist collective is to build bridges between the artists and the art system – especially when it comes to work that still requires backing and structural support.
For our curatorial scope, we chose to show work by 12 other artists, coming out to a total of 17, including the winners, and regardless of age or how long they have been making art. This first edition of the show also features work by women artists from Brazil’s South, Southeast and Midwest: Alice Yura (MS); Ana Elisa Gonçalves (MG); Bella PPK do Mal (SP); Bruxas de Blergh (MG); Érica Magalhães (RJ resident); Érica Storer (PR); Laís Matías (SP); Lília Malheiros (SP); Maria Livman (SP); May Agontinme (SP); Mirla Fernandes (SP); and Vanessa Ximenez (RJ). The show’s traveling iterations will feature other resident artists, in different, region-specific selections, in addition to the award and honorable mention winners.
The works selected for the show clearly bring up issues that permeate the experience of femininity in its various forms: the ambivalent relationship with the body, the subjectivation processes via one’s struggles with self-image, the duality between domestic/private and public/urban experience, the dimension of mockery towards masculinities and social imperatives, the militant tactics, the thematization of social violence, the affective quest for ancestries (familial and/or religious), and landscape transformations.
We hope this panoramic show will singlehandedly assert that at the core of women artists’ output there resides a variety of themes, problems and strategies as multiple and complex as in that of male artists. And that a more recent generation no longer fears stigmatization in the use of themes and forms from the female universe or the feminist agenda. Here’s hoping that this will only grow, and never recede.
“I do not try to make a space into something it is not, but to reaffirm it and to expand its possibilities” — Lydia Okumura
In 1978, Ellen Schwartz, director of exhibitions for Pratt Institute in New York, wrote, “Lydia Okumura is an artist-magician. Give her a space—any space—and she will juggle it around by means of paint, string or glass with inevitably surprising results.” At the age of 12, she received a scholarship to study at a professional ceramics studio. With art and the creative process very much at the forefront of her life, Okumura had her first solo exhibition of paintings in 1968 at the age of 19 at Galeria Varanda in São Paulo.
In 1971, during her studies at Fundação Armando Álvares Penteado (FAAP, São Paulo), Okumura began to more explicitly investigate physical space. She actively challenged viewers to question their perceptions of the world around them through sculptures, installations, and works on paper that blur the line between two and three dimensions. In 1972, at the Young Contemporary Art [Jovem Arte Contemporânea] exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Campinas, Okumura developed three installations that worked in tandem: Different Dimensions of Reality I, II, and III. These three works employ shadows as a mark-making technique, playing with the distinction between fiction and reality, utilising the simple geometric forms of a triangle and a square. Unlike Op art that tricks the eye to move around the work of art rapidly, Okumura’s process enlivens her forms, allowing for the viewer to have a deeper and slower interaction with the work. These works mark the beginning of Okumura’s abstract visual language based on line, form, and space.
While not directly influenced by the Concrete and Neo-Concrete movements happening in Brazil during the 1950s, Okumura’s work follows a trajectory of abstraction found throughout Latin American art. One can see similarities between Okumura’s growing visual vocabulary and the early works of Waldemar Cordeiro, Lygia Pape, and Hélio Oiticica. When Okumura moved to New York in 1974 to attend the Pratt Graphics Center, her work continued to explore formal and spatial arrangements, both in her installations and works on paper. Her installations began to involve her painting directly on the wall and connecting forms with pieces of string and drawn graphite lines, while her works on paper looked to architecture and aimed to expand two-dimensional spaces to three-dimensional ones.
Enhancing the medium through her use of material and space, Okumura’s unique style is a conglomeration of the pure formal qualities found throughout the history of geometric abstraction. As Mondrian stated, “universal beauty results from the dynamic rhythm of ‘the mutual relationships of forms.’ Through her spatial investigations, Okumura expands and renews the aesthetic of abstraction with her practice of bridging and morphing together ideas of color, form and composition as well as interactivity and perception.
Fragment of the text The Multiple Dimensions of Reality, written by curator Rachel Adams for ‘Situations’, a Lydia Okumura’s solo exhibition organized by UB Art Galleries (University of Buffalo, USA, 2016).