Manuel Caeiro explores the limits of architectural forms in his complex abstract paintings. In the works in * M I K A D O *, the shapes and lines of his previous works are extended into increasingly dazzling, and playful, compositions.
Architectural imagery and signage have long been staples of Caeiro’s visual vocabulary. Planes and other geometric shapes are his subjects, along with thin rectangular forms like caution signs. In the works in * M I K A D O *, this imagery is inserted into voids, removing the connection to man-made spaces. Instead, these new works function like allegories of painting. Some compositions, with planes like stretched canvases, resemble perilously-arranged artist’s storage; in other works, these painting-like shapes appear to topple like a house of cards. Balance, whether making a house of cards or painting, is one move away from falling apart.
The title * M I K A D O * continues the allusion to games of dexterity. Though one might first think of Gilbert and Sullivan’s comic opera of the same name, in the case of Caeiro’s paintings, the more apt reference is a game more commonly known in the United States as “pick-up sticks.” In this game, sticks painted with various colored stripes are strewn at random across a surface to be carefully picked up, one by one, without disturbing the rest. The construction sign elements of Caeiro’s paintings function like these sticks; he layers and removes them skillfully, in a balancing act that strives to avoid pitfalls while veering dangerously close to disruption. Caeiro in his paintings toys with the tension between real and imaginary space, teasing the eye with these unnerving compositions. Painting, too, can be a perilous game.
Manuel Caeiro * M I K A D O * opens at beta pictoris gallery on March 18 and runs throughApril 16, 2016. The opening reception will be hosted at beta pictoris from 6:00-8:00 pm on Friday, March 18, with Manuel Caeiro in attendance. The artist is available for interviews; please contact the gallery to schedule. High res images of the exhibition are available.
Manuel Caeiro (b. 1975 in Évora, Portugal; lives and works in Lisbon) studied at the Gabriel Pereira College of Arts, Évora and the University of Fine Arts in Lisbon. His work has been exhibited at the Modern Art Museum in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, the Barrié de la Maza Foundation in La Corunna, Spain, and the Contemporary Art Museum, La Coruña, Spain, among others. He has had solo exhibitions at the Palácio Vila Flor, Guimarães,Portugal, Lurixs Gallery in Rio de Janeiro, Carlos Carvalho Arte Contemporânea, and the Portuguese National Museum of Natural History, both in Lisbon, Portugal. His work is in the collections of the Culturgest and the PLMJ Foundation, both in Lisbon, and the Banco Sabadell in Barcelona, in addition to private collections all over the world.