Nina Pandolfo – Beyond Meninas at Lazarides Rathbone
Brazilian artist Nina Pondolfo’s new show, Beyond Meninas, is a small exhibit with six very large paintings that are bright, lush, bold statements that amply fill the gallery.
Colourful renditions reminiscent of children’s book illustrations, the pieces present tongue-in-cheek exaggerations of the feminine as cartoon-like figures. With huge wide-set eyes the characters are remarkably similar to Japanese anime, but with elements of the fantastic that conjure up extraterrestrials. These symbolic maidens seem to be on display, like ladies of the night in the shop windows of Amsterdam or Brussels, and yet have an aura of completely childlike innocence. Pondolfo’s images “…represent the female subtlety and strength, the serenity of maturity, the power of love, the innocence of childhood… allow women to be both so complex and fascinating, each one with her own beauty and story”.
Bright and visually seductive, the beings in these paintings stand out as comic strip representations. Although all have similar features, each piece presents a different mood. An ode to both feminine imagination and imagination of the feminine, with either textile design or fantasy-inspired backgrounds, every painting consists of one posing caricature of a woman with a wide-eyed, seductive gaze. Your Voice Makes Me Believe has a design that reminds of Le Petit Prince, but is a female fantasy – a woman lounging on the moon, with tiny girls as stars. A sunlit, girlish figure is floating on clouds in When I Became Sun, with cats and rabbits holding hearts flying out of a heart-shaped hole in her chest, and pink flamingos on her feet.
Also known internationally, Pandolfo is one of Brazil’s most respected contemporary artists. Having begun her career at a young age making art outdoors in São Paulo, she had in mind those who had no access to conventional art venues. Often called a “street artist” or “graffiti artist”, Pandlofo’s response is that “when you label someone, you put this person into a box and therefore limit their potential to try and be something else, something more; you imprison their creativity and freedom”, and considers herself to be just an artist. About her collection she explains “I am Brazilian…from a diverse country. I wanted to make works where the characters are actually more than they could be…more than one identity…not from a specific culture. They are WOMEN!”.
Nina Pandolfo: Beyond Meninas is at Lazarides Rathbone from 9th September until 8th October 2016, for further information visit here.
For further information about Nina Pandolfo visit here.