GINA Gallery’s new
exhibition, “Spring is in the Air ", includes newly-acquired artworks of
more than 25 artists from Brazil and Argentina.
Not surprisingly, the naïve art of these countries features
all of the elements that characterize the genre: heartwarming colors and
punctilious detail; childlike perspective and scale; refreshingly-innocent,
easily-understandable, idealized scenes of everyday life; and all accomplished
by a self-taught artist seeking to celebrate the human narrative.
The latter characteristic, however, by highlighting the
contrasting cultures, traditions and histories of the various countries,
results in artworks with remarkably different subjects and styles. In Brazil,
the naïve movement appeared at the end of the 1940's with the first exhibitions
of Silvia de Leon Chalreo and Jose Antonio da Silva, and with the invitation to
the naïve artist, Heitor dos Prazeres, to participate in the first Biennale of
Sao Paulo. The probable explanation for the late emergence of Brazilian naïve
art is grounded in history. While the Frenchmen, Henri Rousseau, Andre Bauchant
and Camille Bombois, and the Americans, Edward Hicks and “Grandma” Moses, to
name but a few (albeit the best known), were already “presence obligee” in
important museums in the world, the works of the Brazilian naïve “pioneers”
were being painted in outlying regions of the country and were discovered quite
late. Therefore, the dawn of Brazilian naïve art came only during the second
half of the 20th century. Brazilian naïve art is epitomized by enormous
contrasts, which arise, in the main, from the intermingling within the large
country of many different cultures – such as European, African and Indian –
from all over the world. This mixture provides a fertile ground for budding
artists of great originality. Brazilians are naturally happy, spontaneous and
creative, and are uninhibited in expressing their emotions, and these traits,
along with all of the youthful dynamism of the original movement, are still
being reflected in the naïve artworks produced today.
The naïvism of Argentina defies simple
categorization. The country’s native customs and traditions have never had the
dramatic impact upon the local naïve artists as the Incan, Mayan, Aztec and
African cultures have had on their fellow artists to the north. Instead, the
waves of immigration to Argentina – in particular from Europe – during the past
two centuries, and the resultant melding of European and other customs and
traditions with those of the indigenous population, have had a major impact
upon the life, character and morés of the people, as well as upon the country’s
art, architecture, music and literature. These influences are seen, quite
clearly, in the works of the Argentine naïves, which depict, in heartwarming
colors and detail, the resonance of the city (particularly Buenos Aires, “the Paris of South America”),
the beat of the tango, the pulse of the pampas, the swagger of the gauchos and
the silent beauty of Patagonia.
Naïve Art, a timeless genre, celebrates the human
narrative and - in contrast to the frenetic pressures of the outside world -
radiates joy, serenity, peace and tranquility. We are at the dawning of the Age
of Naïvism, a genre whose time has come.
Take the World Home with You!