Fernanda Gomes

For this floor based work, Gomes has taken two lengths of bamboo and tied them together using linen thread. The work is self-supporting and stands in a crack or a hole in the floor. The work suggests precariousness, frailty as well as humanity through its verticality, and its gentle sinuous form, referencing perhaps the work of Giacometti. Other works in the exhibition recalled the work of Mondrian with an emphasis on horizontal and vertical lines. The fact that this work deviates from an emphasis on the rectilinear should be seen within the context of Gomes’s constructivist routes and her interest in Arte Povera. Allowing the material to express its own inner nature is fundamental to her work. The modest nature of her art suggests a poetics of the immaterial. The standing sculpture, modest though it may be, articulates the space of the room, suggesting a near and a far. Gomes generally makes her work in situ, responding to the space the exhibition will occupy, the gallery thus becoming an extension of her studio.

Fernanda Gomes was born and still works in Rio de Janeiro. Her work is within the tradition of Latin American art that engaged in the postwar era with constructivism and minimalism. Lygia Clark, Helio Oiticica, Lucio Fontana are the names that come to mind when thinking of her Latin American antecedents but in terms of her Northern American forebears it is the Minimalist generation of Robert Ryman and Richard Tuttle that have a bearing on her work. Fernanda Gomes should neither be seen as a Minimalist, nor as an artist in the tradition of Arte Povera, to which her work also clearly relates.

Rather she makes paintings, and more particularly sculptures which are intimate, that examine the interface between sculpture and painting, that look at the gap between the intentional and the accidental as well as the purity of form that is disturbed by the patina of age and time. Her action in bringing materials together is transformative. She sees her works as things, rather than paintings or sculptures, things that relate to and have an effect on the space they inhabit. Gomes’s use of found materials is infused with a strong sense of humanity and vulnerability.