2001_Taisa Helena P. Palhares

A Painting of Instigating Vivaciousness: The Recent Work of Teresa Viana

Original Portuguese text published in the catalog of the exhibition at Galeria Baró Senna, SP.

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Teresa Viana belongs in the group of artists that, to the joy of many, still devote themselves to the craft of painting. What is more, to those who were skeptical about the death of painting, the contemplation of her works comes as a reassurance, insofar as they ratify in sensorial terms the contemporary credibility of this medium. Viana’s paintings show how the relationships established among color, medium, and linework may be not only continually renovated, but mainly stressed.

When compared with previous works, all the pictorial elements of the artist’s most recent production seem to have been enhanced in some way. Whereas since the early days of her career Teresa has been problematizing the color medium, now this medium attains a degree of density and a vigor that are closely followed by the thickening of her brushstroke, the strengthening of her gesture, the increased autonomy of individual colors within the painting, the heavier texture of the pictorial surface, and consequently, the spirited impetus that considerably expands the space of her paintings.

Viana’s works have always boasted an immense color palette, the diversity of which brings to mind the history of painting in itself, as if the artist’s gaze were a repository for color memories capable of retrieving historical fragments at each new painting. However, a close look in retrospect will reveal that in earlier canvases certain hues tended to prevail in renditions of more homogenous color fields. Little by little, those hues that at first made a timid appearance gained increased representation on the canvas surface, to the point that today shades of salmon, pink, turquoise, violet, lilac, teal, and white appear next to reds, moss greens, blues, and yellows. As a result, these myriad tonalities have their values successfully combined at the same time that they are underpinned, now more than ever in Viana’s painting, by their specificities, thus revealing the artist’s enhanced skills in handling color and its arrangements.

In turn, after appearing in the artist’s work since 1998 as an important structural element, the line gradually lost its rigid integrity and grew more and more prone to being intersected. Today a color line hardly traverses a long stretch without being intersected by another. The gaze that is set on following a patch of blue, for example, soon comes across a green field that is cut by an orange area, and so it goes. In combination with the vigorous color masses and the simultaneous interrelationships of dependence and independence, this exercise of alternating continuity and interruption confers on the paintings a steady rhythm that dramatically expands their space. Ultimately, this space seemingly projects forward and laterally so as to intensely surround the viewer, leaving him/her with the impression that Teresa Viana’s paintings remain open, live, and ever-changing.