Well, this show is an unexpected delight. I knew very little about Brazilian artist Maria Nepomuceno prior to this but I found her vibrant floor- and wall-based sculptural works to be both intriguing and oddly beautiful.
The elements she uses are unusual – both individually and in combination. There are ropes and beads, ceramics and twigs, and initially her final creations seem obscure. Yet on closer inspection there are some wonderful elements, such as the recurring cracked ceramic pearl or egg, with a beaded stalk growing through the crack like a plant or new born life bursting through its shell. This is creation and destruction – the circle of life.
It is the organic element to Maria’s works that give them their warmth, as do the earthy colours – the reds, the oranges and greens. But there’s a great sense of connection to nature in pieces such as Sim, 2010, which sees a paintbrush configured from a branch.
And there’s such an attraction in the ergonomics of those pieces which droop or seem to pour from their fixings to the wall. You want to touch these works, you want to connect with them. And that’s in line with Maria’s intentions. She wants you to lean in to her works, to draw close to them. These are complex cycles of energy and creation and she is inviting us to examine them.
Sim is ‘yes’ in Portuguese, which reflects the openness and generosity of spirit in these works – works that can brighten the spirits on tough days.
Victoria Miro Mayfair, London, to January 7, 2017
Installation images by me.