Galeria Nara Roesler
New York, NY, USA
January 20 – February 23, 2017

Galeria Nara Roesler is pleased to present in its New York Gallery the premiere exhibition of Cristina Canale, an artist who has been part of gallery’s program since 2003. Featuring 12 paintings and 10 watercolors, dating from 1990 through 2016, Things and Beings provides an overview of the creative practice of one of Brazil’s foremost contemporary painters.

Canale’s work came of age in the emblematic Brazilian painting revivalist generation of the early 1980’s, and despite residing in Germany from 1993 onwards—where the power of other mediums, such as installation, video, and photograph dominated artistic discourse— she remained true to her painterly roots throughout her career.

Spanning over two decades, the selection of paintings featured in Things and Beings reveals the virtuosity of a style underpinned by complex compositions—at times featuring swollen planes and layers of varying thicknesses, and at other moments liquefied solutions. In her canvases and drawings, Canale buildis deceptively trivial narratives upon a unique figuration, invariably stepping away from melting down into abstraction.

A number of elements have informed and influenced Canale’s work: Rio de Janeiro’s curvy, depth-filled landscape; Oscar Niemeyer’s modernist curves and contact with nature and the tropical landscape; and the confrontation of the geometrism featured in Brazil’s —and especially Rio’s—architecture, visual program, and art. “This amalgamation of visuality has a lot to do with my work, whereas my presence in Germany is explained through my interest in the tradition of painting, and the context of its revival in the 80s,” says Canale.

With images revealed or overexposed, as critic Tiago Mesquita comments on Canale’s pratice, “her pictures look like images found in the motion of clouds or in the outlines left by waves in the sand.” Canale culls her poetic arsenal from day-to-day, domestic scenes composed of people, women, animals, things, and nature. Things and Beings showcases her wide-ranging pictorial vocabulary, revealing a latent affectivity that underlies the materiality of the objects, the little gestures, the landscapes, the beings that are portrayed, the scenic atmospheres.

According to the critic Luisa Duarte, the tension that aims to deconstruct the will for order and perenniality 30 years into Canale’s career—or better yet, the desire to inhabit an ‘”in between” space that straddles abstraction, lines, and the evocation of figures, all interspersed with big blots of color— is apparent in each of the artworks in Things and Beings, rendering the entire show utterly cohesive throughout. Her houses are triangles, her flowers are lines, a hat dissolves into a pure mass of color, hair turns to circles and cones,” argues the Brazilian critic. “And thus, by allowing an unglamorous vocabulary from run-of-the-mill living to stand tall amid abstract shapes, these paintings infiltrate the gap between being and thing, between what’s perennial and what’s transient. This oeuvre chooses to conflictingly intertwine—for it is exactly in the short-circuit that its potency resides, what’s worldly – what’s fleeting, what’s near, and what’s sheer abstraction.”
about cristina canale

Cristina Canale (b. 1961, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) lives and works in Berlin. Canale’s paintings are on the cusp of impending dissolution into abstraction. Her landscapes seem to portray a liquid world, in which a few recognizable elements emerge between fields of color that are juxtaposed in harmonic fashion, despite the wide variety of colors in each painting.

Her early career in drawing and painting began at the Parque Lage in Rio de Janeiro in the 1980’s. After establishing herself in the Brazilian scene as part of the Geração 80 alongside artists such as Beatriz Milhazes and Adriana Varejão, Canale received a fellowship through the state of  Brandenburg in Germany, to realize a project at the Wiepersdorf Castle and a fellowship through German Academic Exchange Service to study at the Academy of Art in Dusseldorf until 1995. During this time, Canale studied painting under the supervision of Dutch conceptual artist Jan Dibbets. Canale has been combining abstraction and representation in her mixed-media paintings on canvas, exploring the history of painting and its continuing development. While her early work was muscular, washed in dark hues and filled with bold lines and impasto passages of paint, she moved to Germany in the mid-1990’s and began to lighten her color palette and soften her approach. Her current works reveal influences of Fauvism, Post-Impressionism, and Neo-Expressionism, while their subjects—landscapes, figures, domestic scenes, dogs, and cats—recall pre- and early-Modern themes. In all of her work, Canale merges the literal and the lyrical, celebrating the malleability and magic of her medium. Her large-scale painting practice creates lucid environments that encapsulate the childlike and abstract manner to the figures throughout.

Canale was featured in the 21st São Paulo Biennial (São Paulo, Brazil, 1991); and the 6th Curitiba Biennial (Curitiba, Brazil, 2011). Recent individual exhibitions include: Zwischen den Welten (Kunstforum Markert Gruppe, Hamburg, Germany, 2015); Entremundos (Paço Imperial, Rio de Janeiro, 2014); Entre o ser e as coisas (Galeria Nara Roesler, São Paulo, Brazil, 2014); and Protagonista e domingo (Instituto Figueiredo Ferraz, Ribeirão Preto, Brazil, 2013); as well as group shows, including Além da forma (Instituto Figueiredo Ferraz, Ribeirão Preto, Brazil, 2012); O Colecionador de sonhos (Instituto Figueiredo Ferraz, Ribeirão Preto, Brazil, 2011) and most recently A cor do Brasil, curated by Paulo Herkenhoff and Marcelo Campos at the  Museum of Art of Rio (Rio de Janeiro, 2016).

about galeria nara roesler

Galeria Nara Roesler is a leading Brazilian contemporary art gallery, representing seminal Brazilian and Latin American artists who emerged in the 1950s as well as preeminent mid-career and emerging artists who dialog with the currents put forth by these historical figures. Founded by Nara Roesler in 1989, the gallery has consistently fomented curatorial practice while preserving the utmost quality in art production. This has actively been put into practice through a select and rigorous exhibitions program created in close collaboration with its artists; the implementation and fostering of the Roesler Hotel program, a platform for curatorial projects; and continued support of artists beyond the gallery space, working with institutions and curators in offsite shows. In 2012 the gallery doubled its São Paulo exhibition space, in 2014 expanded to Rio, and in 2015 opened in New York City, continuing its mission to provide the best platform for its artists to show their work.

Images: Top: India, 2010, mixed media on paper, 42 x 55 cm, photo courtesy of galeria nara roesler
Right: Fall, 1990 mixed media on canvas, 250 x 115 cm, photo courtesy of galeria nara roesler
Bottom: Blitz und Donner, 1990, mixed media on canvas, 100 x 120 cm, photo courtesy of galeria nara roesler