M Library 2008
Contemporary Art in Latin America: Painting, Graphic Art, Sculpture, Architecture
Modern Art in the Tropics: Brazil
In the catalog of an exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art, Rio de Janeiro (September, 1958)
- p. 203
Aloisio Magalhães (b. 1927), painter and printmaker, is hardly a regional artist in the usual meaning of the term. But then, the distinctive character of Brazilian regionalism is precisely in its aesthetic freedom, its lack of stylistic restraints or dogmatic formulas. To be regional is to identify one’s self in some way with the region – but the manner of so doing whether in one’s life or one’s art, is a matter of individual choice and temperament. Gilberto Freyre insists on “the touch of the humid tropics that characterizes the abstract compositions of Magalhães.” The titles that the artist has given to some of his paintings — Palm Tree by the Sea, In the Form of a Palm Tree, In the Form of a Verandah — as well as the prevalence of “tropical” colors — green, yellow, blue, vermilion — might tend to support Freyre’s thesis. The artist himself, in an interview with the poet Ariano Suassuna, in 1958, expressed his views on the relation of art to “reality.” Asked if he thought art should have a “profound communication with the real,” Magalhães replied that he preferred “an art that aspires to create with more freedom, without concerning itself too much with what exists.
- p. 209
We have already encountered abstract tendencies in the work of such painters as Alfredo Volpi, Flavio de Rezende Carvalho, Cicero Dias, and Aloisio Magalhães, and it will be our task now to explore further the development of nonobjective painting in Brazil. Iberê Camargo, who was born in Rio Grande do Sul in 1914, is equally important as engraver and as painter. After a brief period of study at the National School of Fine Arts, Camargo became a pupil of Guignard.