Desarrumada and Debaixo de cada cor, at Galeria Belo-Galsterer

Despite different practices and portfolios, and notwithstanding being independent shows, there is a common logic in the exhibitions Desarrumada by Rita Gaspar Vieira and Debaixo de cada cor by Pedro Calapez. In both, there is a plentiful nexus made of layers, the material construction with recourse to time, the overlapping thin skins, absorbing and embracing numerous times, cadences, materials and colours. In the first case, it is a palimpsest subjected to the materials of drawing, in the second it is a palimpsest of paints, vibrant colours and profuse saturations. In either of them, the working methods and the way art happens in a depurative process of each layer, stratum or sedimentation are implicit.

Desarrumada is an ironic designation for an always subjective sense of order. And, under this order, this inaccurate point for many, albeit clear for the artist, that Rita Gaspar Vieira explores the materiality of art, time and space of drawing. It is also an investigation into the place of the artist and the origin of creation: the experimental atmosphere of the studio, the tables full of dust and debris from previous projects, recovered in ongoing projects and those that were left over to await a new meaning, a new order, trapped in the series now exhibited.

Gaspar Vieira again emphasises a continuity in the creative process through the surviving remnants of the past; what the past lends to the present, ever so typical of an ecology and economy that only art can explain, made – in the artist’s case – of accidents, pauses, “errata”, different actions, spillages and flaking with cotton paste, water, and graphite. Nature takes presence and agency in these works by taking over the creative process and giving shape to art.

If Gaspar Vieira’s approach is based on drawing, Calapez has his logic for conceiving the work of art in painting. The canvas is a space of superimposition, composition, experimentation, mixing and subtraction of colours. It is a formalist and abstract exercise, which is justified in the plastic materiality of the paint, without ever overlooking a vague drawing that points to something diffuse, evanescent – the shape of a dream, almost forgotten and now recaptured, or the mental landscape of an imaginary place. Debaixo de cada cor is a return to the traditional notion of painting, to the area of the canvas, limited, contained, without compromising creative freedom and impulse. It is the power of proof, the risk, the stain spread on the white canvas, the drag technique that superimposes layers of colour, light and shades.

Both exhibitions show this controlled drive to want and to do, to see and to make it happen, to accept the consequences of artistic production. Both touch upon the truth of the creative act, which is always the proof, the test, the unpredictability, the gesture that comes out warped, but one that is genuine and acquires expression and existence in the gaze.

Desarrumada by Rita Gaspar Vieira and Debaixo de cada cor by Pedro Calapez are on view at Galeria Belo-Galsterer until 31 July.

José Rui Pardal Pina (n. 1988) has a master's degree in architecture from I.S.T. in 2012. In 2016 he joined the Postgraduate Course in Art Curation at FCSH-UNL and began to collaborate in the Umbigo magazine. Curator of Dialogues (2018-), an editorial project that draws a bridge between artists and museums or scientific and cultural institutions with no connection to contemporary art.

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