Galerie Agnès Monplaisir’s booth at this year’s ArtRio is a dynamic discourse on texture. Two Latin American artists, Olga de Amaral and Marcos Coelho Benjamin, present complementary, shimmering works that incorporate precious metals, fabric, and weaving techniques. Working in a large scale, and often with three-dimensional components, these sculptures glimmer and oscillate, revealing complex structures and woven patterns.
Colombian native de Amaral is influenced by her country’s culture and textile traditions. Her background in fabrics began with her studies at Michigan’s Cranbrook Academy of Art where she received a masters in fiber art. In the 1960s she began creating three-dimensional textile works, turning the medium into an abstract art form. She commonly uses fiber, paint, gesso, and precious metals—most often gold—to create intertwined pieces. In works like Alquimia 95 (2009), and Luna oro VII (2007), suspended strips of linen are plated with gold leaf, resulting in kinetic works that subtly gleam, reflecting surrounding light. In other works like Nudo X (2011), and Nudo plata 9 (2010), de Amaral creates large tassels by binding metallic strands in a single knot, leaving the threads free to spill out onto the floor.
Brazilian artist Coelho Benjamin uses zinc, iron, and fabric with acrylic paints to create three-dimensional sculptures. His works recall fur, but are quite the opposite in terms of texture; the metals he creates them with give a rigid exterior. In a body of work created in 2013, for example, a rich burgundy pattern arranged in an organic formation gives the appearance of a silky fur rug. With thin elements of zinc, he creates these compositions in circular, rectangular, and trapezoidal frames.