By Nathan M. Walters, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Tomorrow evening, Thursday, August 2nd, a handful of art galleries within Shopping Cassino in Copacabana will open their doors to display new collections from local and foreign artists. Among them, Galeria Movimento, where Mateu Velasco’s inventive “Avesso do Avesso” (the inside out of the inside out) will open for an eager crowd that has watched Velasco move his talent from the street to a beautifully complex series of canvases that tug on the viewer’s imagination.
The exhibition is the artist’s third at Galeria Movimento (a gallery focused on working with local street artists) and though the style is an evolution of his previous work, pieces in this collection stand out as the profound realization of an original artistic vision.
Much like the stream of consciousness the collection vividly depicts, Velasco has let himself develop with the work. “I was interested in the idea restarting, repopulating with new ideas. What happens when people take a break from the high speed life and rediscover their thoughts,” the artist said in his Laranjeiras studio.
The birth of a daughter prompted Velasco to get lost in his own ideas. “I took a break for awhile, just to regroup, spend time with my family, but after awhile my hands got nervous,” a smiling Velasco says.
With no preconceived vision in mind, Velasco took to the canvas working frantically over a six-month period. The energy of the artist is bundled in the work, a spiraling cluster of color and forms that present recognizable traces of ideas, symbols that unfold in a chain reaction leading the viewer through an exploration of the canvas and their own thoughts.
Velasco’s work has a unique Carioca slant, but effectively communicates universal ideas in an engaging manner. The paintings are playfully psychological, a fractured subconscious turned cultural kaleidoscope packed tight with pieces of passing ideas and expectations finally smashed on a canvas and hung on a wall in Copacabana.
The collection’s centerpiece evokes Gustav Klimt on LSD. An impressive canvas depicting a woman peacefully swimming across a metallic background, her head an explosion of intricately amorphous ribbons meshed with distinct and vibrant patterns.
In this painting, as in most others in the collection, there is an interesting dichotomy on display. As Velasco intended, the figures in the paintings are enjoying some leisurely activity while their thoughts billow like multi-colored smoke clouds across the canvas.
The impact is both comforting and moving, moreso when Velasco talks of the philosophy that grew around the work.
“There is so much pressure for living at high speed. I wanted to present the idea of how refreshing life can be when you restart living the real life, letting your mind wander. The colors are intended to present these ideas in a refreshing way, the way the gallery will be set up is focused on this response.”
For Velasco, the chance to rest with his thoughts is perhaps long overdue, and forthcoming. He will spend September in Budapest, both displaying his work at the Brazilian Embassy in the city and creating a new collection with the Hungarian capital as the subject matter.
Prior to departing on the trip, which Velasco hopes will give him the opportunity to indulge in the mind-clearing activities that his paintings depict, the artist is hoping for a rest at home with his family following an intense schedule that included work on “Avesso do Avesso” and teaching responsibilities at Gavea-PUC.
While many may hope for some new street work prior to his departure, all will be rewarded by making a visit to Shopping Cassino to have a peak at Avesso do Avesso.
Where: Galeria Movimento – Shopping Cassino – Av. Atlântica 4240 / Stall 212 – Copacabana
When: August 2nd (7PM) thru August 30th, 2012
Price: Free and open to the public