Blum & Poe presents a solo exhibition of paintings, sculpture, and installations by Brazilian artist Solange Pessoa, her first in the US.
Pessoa hails from the state of Minas Gerais—the land of Baroque and Rococo, soapstone mines, vast celestial nightscapes, and reserved temperaments—elements inextricable from her philosophical practice, channeled in her work. The concepts of time, intuition, and primordial memory guide her output—the creatures of her Botânica paintings recall those of prehistoric cave paintings; her Mimesmas sculptures conjure mollusk fossils or ancient tools of stone. Her art privileges the organic—she mines the primal realms of the psyche by means of hair, dry leaves, leather, oil, fat, wax, animal blood, minerals, powder, pigment, plants, roots, moss, seeds, and eggs.
This exhibition showcases multiple facets of Pessoa’s body of work, conceptual threads and motifs cultivated over the last thirty years. Eggs of clay rest on the floor beside bronze forms nested in leaves and human hair. Black sculptures shrouded in fabric, hair and bird feathers reach out from the walls like limbs of animate bodies. A series of Pessoa’s Botânica paintings hang on an adjacent wall, white silhouettes emerge from black backdrops yielded from Genipapo and Lineaca—native oils and dyes also used by indigenous Mineiro tribes for medicinal purposes and for body painting.
On the walls of an outdoor garden nearby, Pessoa installs a constellation of biomorphic ceramic figures. Her Mimesmas lay in the soil below, large coiling yonic works made from soapstone, a soft metamorphic rock mined from the quarries of Minas Gerais. The title of this series is a reference to the action of introversion or returning to one’s self—the shapes resembling both the interiors of the female body as well as fossils, symbols of primeval life and the reptilian brain. These works derived from or mimicking biological forms, installed on the floor or in the surrounding vegetation rather than solely on clean white walls, call for temporal, terrestrial, and metaphysical frames of reference.