Van Doren Waxter is delighted to present a new exhibition of recent works on canvas and paper by Brazilian artist Caetano de Almeida, on view at 23 East 73rd Street from March 20 – May 15, 2021. The São Paulo based painter has exhibited in Latin America, Europe, and the US for over two decades, and this show marks his first exhibition in New York in almost five years. The presentation features dazzling new abstractions created in 2020 and includes large scale paintings as well as works on paper.
De Almeida is known for painting chromatically provocative works which tests the viewer’s perception and interpretation of color and pattern. While aesthetically formal, and often precise and very methodical, his saturated and opulent compositions belie a conceptual underpinning that connects the work to De Almeida’s personal history and geographical surroundings. The controlled arena of his grids and structures allude to the wonders of nature around him. Social and cultural signifiers, both macro and micro, are synthesized within the De Almeida’s grids, from the crisscrossing webs of São Paulo’s metropolitan infrastructure to the woven baskets, bags, and textiles of Brazil.
At the same time, the prismatic energy of his palette references his deep interest and understanding in the kaleidoscopic pigments found in nature; as well as the artist’s art historical knowledge of, and lifelong interest in, Tropicalia, Brazilian modernism, and European painting. The artist freely and affectionately navigates and weaves these phenomena, historical tropes, and traditions, composing his pictures with hand-drawn vectors, and imbuing each patterned field with controlled velocity and technical force. De Almeida’s ostensibly mechanistic systems belie their true nature as purely handmade objects, intuitively conceived and created with simple and basic materials such as tape, pencil, and acrylic paint.
A focal point of the exhibition is the painting Espiraculo (Portuguese for the word ‘spiracle’, a respiratory opening in insects or fish). Its elaborate structure, as referenced by the title, indicates an interest in the curiosities and poetics of nature and biology, a possible representation of an aperture, or even what it means to breathe visually; the canvas is as technically dazzling as a scientific specimen. The circular and valve-like visual movement within the composition of this work extends to two other patterned canvases in the show – Esperamacete and Alinhavo Enlaçado – while more grid-constructed paintings such as Up Close and From Afar, point towards more architectural allusions, though still interwoven configurations. Optically generous and confounding, these new works by Caetano de Almeida extend the artist’s precise and intuitive approach to a meaningful encounter with abstraction.
Caetano de Almeida was born 1964 in Campinas, Brazil and currently lives and works in São Paulo. Solo museum exhibitions include Instituto Figueiredo Ferraz, Ribeirao Preto; Pinacoteca do Estado de São Paulo; Museo de Arte Moderna, Rio de Janeiro; and Museo de Arte Moderna, São Paulo, among others. Individual international gallery exhibitions include Galeria Luisa Strina, São Paulo (represented since 1990); Van Doren Waxter / 11R, New York, NY; Distrito Cu4tro, Madrid, Spain; Anna Niemeyer, Rio de Janeiro; Andreas Thalmann Gallery, Zurich; and Galerie Anne de Villepoix, Paris, among others. His work is in the collections of Museu de Arte Moderna de São Paulo; Museo de Arte Contemporanea USP, São Paulo; Instituto Inhotim, Minas Gerais; and the Museo de Arte Moderna de Rio de Janeiro.