Naturfatura: Catarina Leitão at Galeria Carlos Carvalho

Over the centuries, nature has been a major influence on art and history tells us how artists have been inspired by it. From the great landscape theme, recurrent in the 19th century, or the 60s Land Art[1], the ways of treating nature have changed with the times. Even so, the theme continues to be one of the most portrayed in contemporaneity.

Galeria Carlos Carvalho, curated by João Silvério, presents the solo exhibition Naturfatura by Catarina Leitão, where the artist proposes a reflection on nature through a curious proximity between art and science, with drawings and sculptures that approach nature analytically.

In the gallery’s main room, the sculptures occupy the entire area. They look like variations of themselves, with similar structure and chromaticism. Wood, plastic, fabric or felt are some of the materials used, resulting in a delicate object with different layers and textures. The sculptures look familiar to us, but have in themselves something strange and novel. They remind us of natural elements, either by the green fabric draperies, or by the woody skeletons, reminiscent of protective structures for plants, commonly used in agriculture or gardening. All the works have branches and small trunks, where we see the ambiguity between natural and artificial elements.

There are three large drawings at the back of this room showing the studies the sculptures have undergone. Despite their size, they are works that require us to get closer to observe the details. There is balance between each element. The watercolour is soft but strict, similar to a botanical illustration with scientific content. We see gradations of colour, outlines, fine lines that reproduce details of the sculptures within the venue. Similar to what happens in a garden, where the ground is the root for the plants’ growth and development, we can see here how the drawing is the soil for the sculptures’ birth.

For Catarina Leitão, field notebooks are an important method of work and artistic discovery. This is obvious in the corridor behind the main room, where we see drawings that show the importance of this medium in her work. With the same profile we saw before, the drawings underline Catarina Leitão’s thorough technique. They are examples of fieldwork as an artist and researcher of subjects, perceptions and ideas.

In Naturfatura we see the building of a narrative based on fiction and direct observation, where Catarina Leitão opens a reflection on our relationship with nature, its processes of domestication and transformation, or the antithesis between natural and artificial. Naturfatura also presents a singular and curious perspective on the relationship between art and nature, stimulating a reflection on our role and responsibility towards the natural world.

The exhibition Naturfatura by Catarina Leitão is on show until May 27, 2023 at Galeria Carlos Carvalho.




[1] Artistic current where artists directly intervened on the natural landscape, with natural materials.

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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