Joao Carlos Galvão
Art Nouveau Gallery, Miami
From Reason to Intuition.
In Reflections, his first solo show in the United States, the Brazilian artist Joao Carlos Galvão, (Rio de Janeiro, 1941) is presenting a selection of 13 small and medium format assemblages/reliefs from his most recent production. Galvão boasts a long trajectory of more than forty years exhibiting his artwork. He began to study painting in 1951 and lived in Paris in the late 1960s. Since 2004, he has been a member of the International Madi Movement (Movement, Abstraction, Dimension, Invention), created in Argentina in 1946 by the Argentine-Hungarian Gyula Kosice, along with the Uruguayans Carmelo Arden Quinn, and Rhod Rothfuss. Galvão was included as a Madi artist, as his work follows the ideas of invention, limitless artistic creation and the search of new methods of art research that the group adheres to. The artist has a long trajectory of exhibitions in Brazil, France and England. He participated in the 9th Sao Paulo Biennial in 1967 and he is one of the most important artistic voices within Brazil’s constructive geometric abstraction.
The exhibition gathers a series of Assemblages, works composed of Brazilian hardwood blocks, natural or painted in oil – some of them cut along one side in a perfect 90۔۔degree angle, on the other side in curved or circular shapes – and that grouped on the pictorial plane, compose a sort of rhythmic suite. Galvão assigns to wood a leading role in his work; he allows it, with its nobility and history of its own, to participate with its grains in the intervention in the geometric rhythms he engages in each composition, thus establishing a sensitive relationship with the process of alignment of each piece.
Interested in Op Art and Kinetic Art from a very young age, Galvão produces a constructive, mathematical and clean work with volumes, which hold a dialogue on the plane thanks to the environmental and the reflected light. Another of the elements that has an active participation in his compositions is, precisely, light. The volumes appear affixed onto the planar surface on one of their sides, in such a way that the remaining faces reflect and refract light, creating a play of shadows as well as negative and positive spaces. The spectator connects with the work through the play of shadows that change depending on the light, and that are determined by the edges, shapes and interplays produced by the light. Inspired by artists like Camargo and Vasarely, with whom he worked and studied while in Paris, Galvão inclines towards rhythm, perception, alignment and the internal logic of the formal structure to create these compositional stripes, which are spaces determined by accumulations: his assemblages. Although he utilizes color in some of his pieces – on some occasions, the artist paints the assemblages in one, two or three flat colors, generally reds, whites and cobalt blue –, Galvão resorts above all to volumes and to structure on the plane, playing with the compositional elements, breaking down at times the rigorousness of the square or the rectangle, with elements that protrude from the pictorial plane and generate a feeling of movement. “I try to create structures or to structure a theme,” he declared.
His work adopts all the characteristic premises of constructivism, namely, abstraction, repetition and the use of a system that in spite of being formed by structures that are considerably regular, possess a rich visual vocabulary, in which the compositional sobriety and the playfulness of the shapes speak to the essence of what the human being is: the permanent contrast between opposites, the rational and the intuitive, the natural and the constructed, the Apollonian and the Dionysian.
Galvão points out: “Even so, my work is rigorously constructed on the basis of pure intuition,” and it is precisely this duality between the cerebral element in his mathematical style and the emotional charge in the composition that makes this relation/tension between the human being and nature be present in each assemblage, like an individual microcosm of which he is an essential part.