Press release

another mirror

The title of this exhibition alludes both to painting as a process of representation, and to the methodology of its construction. Isabel Madureira Andrade presents us with abstract, geometrical painted images that potentiate the emergence of symmetrical compositions. It is in this act in potency, which is only achieved through the time the spectator devotes to their observation, that the repetition of patterns, matrices, incomplete symmetries and diagonal or elliptical grids is confirmed. Insofar as they are a set of physical and plastic actions developed through a chromatic palette, in which the superimposition and duplication of planes and the expression of lines create zones of depth and relief, the paintings inscribe the presence of drawing. In these works, this idea of mirroring, of reflection of the other, creates an internal dialectic that occurs both within the limits of the support, and which transcends it as visual stimulus, as duration (in the time sensed by each subject), and as a reconfiguration of the gaze. In this way, the surface of the painting absorbs us into its interior, not so much in retrieving our image but in becoming a composition that continuously remakes and mirrors itself.

The artist's work process always incorporates a pre-existing image, like a fragment of memory that belongs to her studio, to the models of her research, to the study and freedom to construct and deconstruct visual systems in which drawing takes on particular importance. At times these are images of everyday life transformed by a process of synthesis and austere visual economy into simple geometries sedimented by their duplication into more complex constructions, abandoning the original reference to become a serial and apparently formal process within the work. In this process, the painting, which begins as a sculptural act, is thus a construction, an initiatory space where the artist inscribes a relief that structures the composition using cotton twine on the wall. It is over this matrix in relief that the canvas will receive the action of the body through frottage, establishing the initial structure of the drawing, and which is followed by setting a first layer of acrylic paint and then, over this, the oil paint, following the order of the materials' resistance and in this way extending the physical action of the artist's body, which is restrained by the limit of the disappearance of the original gesture that is replicated, of which we know nothing. The painting thus transports us back to an inscription of other inscriptions, becoming the memory of a practice that incessantly searches for clues about the action and corporality of the labour of painting, and the reflection of this practice in the encounter with the Other who sees and feels. In this respect Isabel Madureira Andrade develops her work within a lineage of artists with similar concerns and experimental serial procedures, such as Ad Reinhardt, Andy Warhol (in a very specific large-scale serial installation entitled "Shadows") and Brice Marden, with regard to his understanding and pertinent reflection on his own painting: ‘The paintings are made in a highly subjective state within Spartan limitations. Within these strict confines, confines I have painted myself into and intend to explore with no regrets, I try to give the viewer something to which he will react subjectively. I believe these are highly emotional paintings not to be admired for any technical or intellectual reason but to be felt. (1963).’[1]Isabel Madureira Andrade's paintings thus launch a challenge to art history, to the status of the image as painting, and to a sense of temporality that places the observer within their presence. Between different formats, whether in terms of their dimensions or condition as triptych or individual composition, the paintings reveal themselves as a transitory moment that continues beyond the exhibition. They are perhaps another mirror that resolves into the universality of each subject, mirrored in the hues and fluidity of the composition.

João Silvério
September 2021


[1]Brice Marden, “Statements, Notes and Interviews (1963-81)”, Theories and Documents of Contemporary Art, A Sourcebook of Artists’Writings, University of California Press, Berkeley and Los Angeles, 1996, p. 138.

Works available