Beatriz Milhazes
Brazil, 1960
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Milhazes’s way of working starts with a motif set down somewhere on the canvas, which gradually grows, and onto which she progressively superimposes other motifs which, though always different from the first one, are just as colourful and simple, like cells that take their place one by one, spreading and occupying the space of the painting. The technique is similar to collage; parts are added and then completed, as if the artist were working on a personal, multicolour puzzle. Over time she gradually shifts away from the original geometric patterns in favour of more organic forms, resulting in canvases densely populated by extremely powerful visual elements. On a surface level, one can observe pop, primitive and folk art references in her work that suggest something close to a decorative model. On a deeper level, however, Milhazes traces the origin of her work to a series of personal feelings, such as claustrophobia and anxiety, and to labyrinthine thoughts that she is able to free herself from through her painting. It is this emotional turmoil that lies behind her trademark style. Colour is the absolute constant in her work. Milhazes sees it as the driving force that sets her painting in motion and carries it to its endpoint, and over the course of her artistic career she has used it with ever greater freedom. Her work —always delicate, but also powerful in the results it achieves—is distinguished by its pictorial quality, a sense of mystery, and the striking effect of the colours she employs. Colours, forms and symbols—common features in her paintings—are represented in all their splendour in O Diamante. The piece was completed in 2002, a key moment that marked a sea change in the artist’s career, when her work began to draw greater international attention than ever before.
Virginia Torrente

Artworks by the artist included in the Collection Artworks by the artist included in the Collection

  • The Diamond / 2002