Na Roda: Gabriela Machado at 3+1 Arte Contemporânea

Se é pra sambar, entra na roda

Vem requebrar que a roda gira


The circle is a ritual that lies at the start of everything. It allowed the birth of samba as a musical genre, which evolved in the dance, music and conviviality circles[2]. It was born in the Afro-Brazilian communities, after the abolition of slavery (between the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century), resulting in a massive migration of the freed population to Rio de Janeiro, who took with them a strong religious and musical tradition[3]. Entertaining, celebrating or implying encounters between bodies, samba is marked by its mesmerising rhythm and is one of the main symbols of Brazilian identity and culture. Gabriela Machado (Joinville, Brazil, 1960) proposes Na Roda a crystallization of the energy of the samba circles, made of encounters, improvisations, rhythms, bodies, colours and applauses.

The first two works we see illuminate the senses with vibrant colours and floating shapes. Our body also reacts to the electric-coloured paint, as if the canvas produced a vibration that intensifies our relationship with the painting. Exhibited side by side, Primeiro amor (2022) and Ganham do aplauso(2022) are two large format paintings that seem to tell two moments of the same story, using a similar colour palette where greens, red and neon pink predominate. On the white background, the painted elements resemble organic shapes, as if they were flowers, plants or fruits, but still in an abstract way. The paint configurations are reminiscent of a free floating environment, where the painting looks like a living organism.

Then, the paintings become of small format. In this series, Gabriela Machado uses fabrics on the canvases, creating frames around the painted areas. In the work Em cima da cadeira (2015-2021), the bright fabric is highlighted. In cyan blue, and with a wavy texture, the reflective capacity of the fabric is reminiscent of the mesmerising reflections of ocean waves. At the centre of the work is a painting in pastel and pink tones, in an abstract composition that recalls the harmony of a still life. In Pode ser amanhã (2016-2021), the fabric shimmers a salmon pink, where fine brushstrokes create an irregular pattern of neon-pink spots. The subject seems to be landscape and the brush creates irregular grey, green and blue spots. meus amigos (2018-2021) follows the same line, but here it is the silver of the fabric that stands out, along with the painting’s oval frame. In Na beira (2016-2021), the highlight is the use of two vibrant fabrics, one with a floral pattern and the other with a bright dotted motif. In the centre of the canvas, the colours encompass magenta, green and electric yellow, in a vivid landscape. Coloured fabrics that have been in Carnival parades are used in this series. The artist puts her observation and experience on the canvas, using real, concrete elements in the oil of the landscapes. Based on a fleeting event, Gabriela Machado collects, transforms and immortalizes this on the canvas surface.

On the gallery’s lower floor, the magic of electric forms continues with three paintings that recall the atmosphere of the first two works at the start of the exhibition. In large format, but on paper, red floods the painting. The greens and electric yellows highlight the composition’s different planes. The organic forms, with large and fluid brushstrokes, dance again on the canvas. Gabriela Machado paints three mutations of the same organic body or to illustrate the variations of a single event, as if capturing different reflections of light. The painting is in movement, it vibrates in the gallery’s pale atmosphere and vivifies the visitor’s body.

In the brightness, movement, colour, and senses, the silence of the gallery asks for samba and the paintings imagine themselves forming a wheel. Na Roda by Gabriela Machado, the painting reflects the harmony of the studio work with the outer world experiences, capturing the echo and energy of the samba circles.

Na Roda by Gabriela Machado is at 3+1 Arte Contemporânea September 10, 2022.



[1] Lyrics by Martinho da Vila in “O Pai da Alegria

[2] Theodoro, Helena (2009). “Guerreiras do samba” in Textos escolhidos de cultura e arte populares, v.6, 1.1, p. 223-236. Rio de Janeiro.

[3] Romanelli, Antonio (2015). “Roda de samba, roda da vida: filosofia de botequim em Noel, Paulinho e Chico” in Memento-Revista do Mestrado em Letras – Linguagem, Cultura e Discurso. V.06, N.1. Universidade Vale do Rio Verde, p.2.

Laurinda Marques (Portimão, 1996) has a degree in Multimedia Art - Audiovisuals from the Faculty of Fine Arts of Universidade de Lisboa. She did an internship in the Lisbon Municipal Archive Video Library, where she collaborated with the project TRAÇA in the digitization of family videos in film format. She recently finished her postgraduate degree in Art Curatorship at NOVA/FCSH, where she was part of the collective of curators responsible for the exhibition “Na margem da paisagem vem o mundo” and began collaborating with the Umbigo magazine.

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