1996_Maria Alice Milliet



Original Portuguese text published in the catalog of the exhibition at Galeria Nara Roesler, São Paulo, 1996 

“Things are not only drawn or painted;

they spring from the action of color itself”.


The exuberance of the paint is disclosed in the subversive presence of pigments of intend color, which is quite different from domesticated color that, while meaning to be faithful to nature, is but a conventional datum. The boldness of color stimulates the observer’s perception. One cannot remain indifferent to it. It wakes one’s eyes from a monotonous slumbering; it either arouses attraction or causes repulsion. Pigment becomes ultimately provoking as it impregnates the dense, ductile mixture, creating rugged surfaces that ask to be touched, even if only with one’s eyes.


Following the initial impact, it is a matter of enjoying it or refusing it. Upon seeing Teresa Viana’s paintings for the first time observers are overcome with perplexty. To further investigate it is to remain captive of the tension that stirs up the canvas plane, generating waves, grooves, vortexes and heightened pictorial vibrations. Very few people allow themselves to surrender to sensual excitement. Right away observers tend to seek a familiar from, something they can take identify within that chaos, in this process they may discover o flower, or yet various flowers on a lake, or a landscape with vegetation, and so on ...


Teresa paints for the pleasure of painting. Rather than being shy, her painting brazenly reveals its essential components, i.e. the pictorial material on its sopports. Consequently, it defines a field whose apparent disorganization reaches na unstable balance though a dynamic process that prompts us to reconsider the conventional reading of canvases – which habitually involves seeking stability on composition. She handles large formats with a yearning for overflowing. With thick brushstrokes she plasters up the canvas forming a clotted surface with glissades and dribbing borders, thus thickening the pictorial layer to the limit of the impasto’s capacity to adhere to the vertical plane. With a non-violent, though intense strnke, she applies the layer of oil and molten beeswax mixture ( encaustic ) or the pure oil – paste over pasre, color over color, in various directions, creating on the surface a string motion that resembles the slow bubbling of volcanic lava. She goes on painting at na unrelenting pace, gyrating the paintbrush, sliding the flat bristle brush with a voluptuousness that is a naerly innocent. She lets it be: line and spring up by impulse.


A certain radicality permeates this art making process that essentially generates pictorial events. The artist does not fear color saturation, she juxtaposes blotches of paint in a concert of chromatic vibrations that hurts the eye. She plays with complementary triads in which a deep blue, nearly black tone is contraposed with acid yellowish green, or purplish red in combination with pink contrasts with sky blue without incurring the banal optical effect caused by double supplementary. At times, segments of brilliant and dull sheen coexist on a same canvas surface, where spots of a certain color are apparently buried under avalanches of another color. In her more recent paintings, the thick brushmarks indicate a more ample and now imposing gesture. All of Teresa Viana’s works – where brushstrokes, ink thickness and color vividness are strikingly visible – provoke one’s desire to touch them, and some are even appealing to the taste (they are succulent painting). Ultimately, her paintings exceedingly arouse the human senses.

Teresa Viana was born in Rio de Janeiro, where she enrolled in the visual arts school at Parque Lage at a time when the 80’s generation was asserting itself. She learned arts from Beatriz Milhazes, Daniel Senise, Luiz Ernesto and Charles Watson. She lived in Europe for six months and currently shows her determination at her atelier in São Paulo, where she moved five years ago. Tersa’s small build seems fragile in contrast with the large canvases she paints, carries and even drags across the floor when necessary. She carefully prepares the paint the current composition of which results from considerable experimentation. Tersa acts with the prudence of a person who respects the trade, and the audacity of a person who ventures beyond familiar grounds. And I have news for those who might think she can’t draw; she has been awarded for her drawing on non-woven interlining fabric.


After accompanying the evolution of Teresa Viana’s work for two years, I have identified her possible affinities with Iberê Camargo’s distinguished production and Jorge Guinle’s painting. Nonetheless, despite admining their work and keenly scrutinzing what they have produced, she has built a different track record for herself. I would say that while Camargo’s painting reveals conflicts, existential anguish, struggle, obstinacy and tragedy. Guinle lost faith in and rejected this unyleding fuction of painting, and dwelled mostly on cultivation and election, thus revealing in his work a wicked pleasure in inverting the everyday usage of language to render, through shouts, a declaretion of love.


Now, as Teresa... she has succeeded the skeptics in relation to the survival of painting as well as the euphoria of the Neo-expressionist comeback. She borders on irreverence and energetic Rio de Janeiro painting style of the last decade. She shows a desire to rescue the “primitiveness” of painting and to go back to basics. She begins at the beginning, which is to say, from the very starting point of painting. She goes from encaustic preparation to applying the pigmented paste on the sopport, where she experiments with its malleability, drying capacity, fluidity and solidification. If the form is not premeditated, the gesture is still conditioned by resistance, i.e. its friction with the ecaustic material, as to the reason for colors to vibrate, whether with, a shiny or a dull sheen, that’s a matter of optics. However, the artist’s concem is not only with the encaustic tecnique, because in her work paint is utilized as a means rather than as na end. Teresa’s end is actually a beginning, a rendering of painting at its full potential, something that emerges from within and flows out of the picture surface.