Only three small paintings comprise the show “Deserto-Modelo,” a quiet exhibition of works by Lucas Arruda at Lulu in Mexico City. Each is a meticulous exercise in formal technique, and illustrates the complexity of layers behind even the most simple of paintings.
The three paintings, all Untitled (Deserto-Modelo) and produced in 2015, depict seascapes at differing points of the day. Each has distinct qualities to potentially identify three distinct places, and vary in their choice of color, horizon and atmospheric qualities. The artists visible brush strokes and the manipulation and play of light in the canvases are two central components in each composition. As varied as each of the three paintings are, the light radiates from the center of each of them, around which the remainder of the compositional elements are placed. Without a doubt these are paintings that exemplify a strong formal consideration about painting itself. Each seascape is an exploration of the technique of landscape painting itself and the artist’s obsessive interest with the medium.
The three seascapes are entirely imagined by Arruda. They are illusions of geographies that could be, and moments of ephemerality worth experiencing. In the small space of Lulu, the paintings are contemplative, offering a sense of nostalgia for a place once visited, or a longing for a place yet to be seen. There is an intimacy in the space and in the small moments of the paintings that draw the body closer in order to observe every meticulous detail and envelope the eye in an experience that is at once tangible and metaphysical.
“Deserto-Modelo” is an example of the artist’s breadth and depth in the formal technique of painting, yet still offers personal moments of contemplation that balance the formal execution of the medium and the nuanced geography. The paintings are at once formal explorations and contemplative moments, both technical and existential; together in this exhibition they provide a space of formal consideration in their quiet beauty.
by Leslie Moody Castro