WHITAKER EMPLOYS VISUAL ELEMENTS TO BARE HIS PICTORIAL LANGUAGE AND OBTAIN NEW MEANINGS
"I keep searching for images that leave me in a state of suspension, a stable / unstable situation, that create a certain discomfort and some plenitude (whether temporary or permanent, time will tell)," states the artist. Galeria Millan exhibits The Resignification of the Designified Form, first solo show by the artist Paulo Whitaker at the gallery. It is organized by Ricardo Kugelmas and brings together a set of 8 large-format oil paintings accompanied by a smaller group, elaborated during a residency at Art Farm Project, in São Paulo during October 2019.
Whitaker's work has made a unique contribution to the Brazilian art scene, through a markedly dynamic process of experimentation since the 1980s. In the following decade, his practice presents an important inflexion after his contact with the work of Terry Winters (1949, New York, USA), starting to incorporate to the pictorial practice elements present in the work of the American painter and engraver, such as the accumulation of taken decisions, changes of course and demarcated attempts in the painting's surface.
In the following years, Whitaker began to work on "populating the canvas," in his own definition, adding more elements and new repertoires and experimenting with variations on the stencil technique by merging usage procedures of spray paint and oil paint, alternating between brushstrokes contained by the mask and the freedom to blur its outlines. In this process, he also expanded the possibilities of the painted forms, in a rhythmic movement in which they sometimes come closer, sometimes overlap in a sculptural configuration, or distance themselves to return to a flat character.
In this sense, the relation between painting and space is crucial to demarcate each step taken and each new direction. For critic Tadeu Chiarelli, Whitaker's production shows itself "like a spiral that goes back and forth on itself - that follows and then returns -, (...) constituting itself between and from cyclical convulsions that suddenly make previously submerged crusts return, new formations, thus configuring one of the most shifting and intriguing territories through which current Brazilian art asserts itself."
The artist mentions that, as with instrumental music, which is built from basic elements (melody, harmony and rhythm), his practice is free from narration and literature. This is how Whitaker acts, "designifying" the forms he creates, in order to resignify them later on, through painting. It is from the uniqueness of the pictorial language that many paths of possible meanings are explored, without making use of pre-established narratives, but of what is most fundamental in his craft: form and color, figure and background. In this most recent body of work, the spiral returns to the point of emptying the real, where the surface, as a becoming fact, is itself the stage for the event.
The Resignification of the Designified Form
May 29 - June 26, 2021
Rua Fradique Coutinho 1360
São Paulo, Brasil