Alice Quaresma (b. Rio de Janeiro. Lives in New York) takes as starting point her diaspora, having experienced the international art world through her education in London and New York, to then return to her roots as a Brazilian-born artist. Quaresma began to make art at a very young age when she was sixteen years old and studied at the Escola de Artes Visuais do Parque Laje in Rio de Janeiro. Her early paintings earned her acceptance into the Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design in London, where she received a Bachelor of Fine Arts in 2007. She then moved to New York and earned an MFA from Pratt Institute, in 2009. Although she worked with painting during those years, it was through her practice with photography that she became recognized in the field: in 2014, she was selected as a Foam Talent, from Foam Magazine, Amsterdam, Netherlands.
After a summer course at the School of Visual Arts (2012) and a workshop in Rio de Janeiro at Barracão Maravilha (2013), Quaresma started taking photos of Rio de Janeiro, revisiting the landscapes of her childhood, creating incomplete narratives. Then suddenly she would make hand-made incisions on the prints. Sometimes these incisions are sharp or delicate, created with colorful stickers, thin or quasi-imperceptible geometric forms and lines; other times, these interferences are pseudo-aggressive scribbles, imprecise colorful or black shapes drawn with oil pastel. These mixed media works escape the steady eye of photography, while also avoiding the self-referential aspect of painting: respectful to neither of these techniques.
This avoidance to subscribe to a specific medium can be understood as Quaresma claims her work as a painter, building a playful dialogue with the most critical moment in Brazilian art history of the 20th century: neoconcrete art. Quaresma cites her admiration for reading the correspondence between Lygia Clark and Helio Oiticica, for acknowledging their friendship and professional dialogue, for understanding how they became “mother and father” of Brazilian contemporary art. But, in her works, Quaresma also distorts this legacy, dismissing the pursuits of the early moment of neoconcretism: evading the precision of geometric forms, the idea of art as a living geometry. Instead, in Quaresma’s works, lines, geometries, and even themes such as Clark’s famous “Critters,” become puns, or jokes. In a sense, Quaresma comments on the gaze of the international art world towards Brazilian art history, the desire to continuously scrutinize Brazilian neoconcretism as a movement with firm roots in Modern European art.
Visit the artist’s website: http://www.alicequaresma.com/