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Beatriz Milhazes Artwork

Beatriz Milhazes: Maresias Exhibition is available to see in the Tate St Ives from 25th May until 29th September 2024. The exhibition endeavours to trace the evolution of Milhazes artistic approach over the past four decades.

It all started in the 16th century in Nîmes, where denim fabric was first manufactured. Originally crafted from a blend of wool and silk, the fabric featured a distinctive weave of indigo blue warp yarns and natural weft yarns. Its name, "denim," is believed to derive from "Nîmes," the city of its origin, and its production mill, the "Nim." Over time, the term "denim" evolved into "jean," possibly influenced by the city of Genoa ("Gênes"), renowned for importing the indigo dye used in the fabric.

Artistic Approach

Beatriz Milhazes is most notable for her expansively colourful and large-scale abstract canvases. Milhazes rose to prominence in the 1980s as a leading figure of Geração Oitenta, a significant Brazilian art movement returning to painting as a dynamic medium for art expression, rather than conceptual art.

Her work involves artistic approaches through the adaptation of the technique of collage into painting. This approach leads to Milhazes' work being densely layered whereby her distinctive 'monotransfer' technique was developed. The technique involves painting her own motifs onto a plastic sheet before transposing them onto canvas, creating the exuberant artworks. In her paintings, Milhazes creates complex compositions where the motifs follow specific symmetrical principles but lead to deliberate asymmetry.

Unlike Henri Matisse, who desired harmony through colour combinations and the simplification of drawing, Milhazes refuses to pursue harmony within her works.

"I want to have optical movements, disturbing things; such visions that your eyes would be disturbed when you see them." - Beatriz Milhazes

Nature as a common theme

Milhazes is an artist who loves nature and the landscapes that inspire her artistic creations. Her floral depictions have become increasingly abstract, astonishing Beatriz herself.

Milhazes covers the entire canvas with paint and does not leave a space free, suggesting that the painting extends beyond its margins and boundaries.

The artist created four monumental paintings that thematically explore the different seasons. Milhazes realised the strong association between the paintings as she simultaneously painted them, not having them be stand alone pieces of art. Each season is focused around nature and large floral motifs encapsulate the entire paintings with ebullient colours.

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