Anyone who lived in the 1970s knows very well those heavily painted sunset landscapes found in any hippie market. Or the prints on the t-shirts from California surf brand Hang Ten. But these are references from an all-too-pop repertoire, and a bit indigestible for the formal canons of contemporary art.
Here, in this new solo show by Mauricio Parra in the Zip'Up project, the artist works with the technical rigor of Renaissance paintings, with media such as gilder's clay and oil on wood in order to gaze at today's world and translate his poetry. Parra, an architecture graduate and disciple of Rubens Matuck, learnt traditional techniques from the master and, with focus and determination, has been relentlessly producing paintings, watercolours and prints through his watchful gaze upon today's world.
Whether in still-lifes composed of objects and medicine packages of his daily life, or in portraits of friends and self-portraits, or in paradisiacal landscapes, where he studies and thinks about the passage of time and light and their interpretations, the artist builds discourses that are about him and all of us. In this series of clouds, suns, seas and moons the scenes reinforce the pleasure of a sensibly strange gaze.
Even if one can often see in the contours and contrasts, a reference to more regional painting such as the now renowned Lorenzato from Minas, or even the metaphysicians of yore, which Mauricio so much appreciates - here he breaks paradigms, turning the genre almost into an experience of lysergic trips, pushing the intention of painting with pictorial excellence to instances of affection. Good escapisms for times of war. If "there is a place beyond the horizon", then Parra's new series of landscapes seem to reinforce that "what is paradise worth without love?"*.
Renato De Cara
* Excerpts from the song Beyond the Horizon by Erasmo Carlos and Roberto Carlos, 1978
“Beyond the horizon there must be some beautiful place to live in peace
Where I can find nature, joy and happiness for sure
In this place the dawn is beautiful, with flowers celebrating another day coming
Where we can lie in the field, loving each other in the grass listening to the birds singing
Enjoy the afternoon without thinking about life, walk carefree without knowing the time to return
Tan the whole body without censorship, enjoy the freedom of a life without worries
If you don’t come with me, all this will remain on the horizon waiting for both of us
If you don’t come with me, none of this is worth it, what is paradise worth without love?
Beyond the horizon there is a beautiful and peaceful place for us to love each other!”