In his exploration of the limits of shape, Brazilian artist Paulo Monteiro creates paintings and sculptures of various colours, scales and forms that oscillate between the two- and three-dimensional.Read More
Born in 1961 in São Paulo, Monteiro studied at Faculdade de Belas Artes in São Paulo. While working as a comic artist, Monteiro was drawn to Philip Guston for his combination of painting and a comic aesthetic—which he encountered at a Guston exhibition in 1981—and began to devote more time to painting.
Primary concerns in Monteiro's work include boundaries of areas and forms, and the materiality of the mediums of painting and sculpture. The artist's vividly painted works, often in oil and gouache, and cast sculptures are presented together as 'constellations'—configurations that generate relationships and dialogues with one another in exhibitions.
Monteiro was a member of Casa 7, a studio collective founded in the early 1980s with fellow artists Carlito Carvalhosa, Fábio Miguez, Nuno Ramos and Rodrigo Andrade. Initially influenced by the work of Guston and German Neo-Expressionism, Casa 7 increasingly engaged with Brazilian responses to international art by looking to the Brazilian Concrete and Neo-Concrete movements of the 1950s and 60s.
Monteiro's paintings from this period reflect his experimentation with the medium. Large expanses of white are flanked vertically by grey shapes in Untitled (1984), with black outlines evoking comic strips. By contrast, Monetiro uses a darker colour palette in Untitled (1985), in which the outlines are less pronounced and accents in greyish-white create the illusion of spilling forms.
Monteiro has long been interested in the boundaries between forms, and the thresholds in which the different planes in a painting intersect. When the horizontal bands of red and lavender clash in untitled (2013), a vividly coloured oil on canvas, the paint emerges out of the otherwise flat surfaces to make tension tangible.
The moment of the ending of one form and the beginning of another manifests as asymmetrical shapes in Monteiro's sculptures, which are moulded in clay before being cast in metal. In the cast iron sculpture Two steps work (2012), a large, roughly rectangular slab appears to be sliding or stepping off a smaller form; in the aluminium wall sculpture untitled (2015), a slice has been cut off from the small, doorknob-like shape.
Paulo Monteiro has exhibited internationally.
Solo exhibitions include: Colors without a place, Tomio Koyama (2022); Paulo Monteiro: The Two Sides of An Empty Line, Lévy Gorvy, New York (2021); Paulo Monteiro, Mendes Wood DM, New York (2019); The Empty Side, Zeno X Gallery, Antwerp (2018).
Group exhibitions include: Calor Universal, Pace Gallery, New York (2022); Horizons, Lévy Gorvy, Paris (2021); A hora instável, Galeria Bruno Múrias, Lisbon (2019); Coleção MAC Niterói: arte contemporânea no Brasil, MAC Niterói, Rio de Janeiro (2017); The Many and the One: Brazilian Contemporary Art, Instituto Tomie Ohtake, São Paulo (2016); Uma Coleção Particular — Arte Contemporânea No Acervo da Pinacoteca, Pinacoteca do Estado de São Paulo, São Paulo (2015).
Sherry Paik | Ocula | 2022