Beatriz Milhazes is well known for her vibrantly colorful, kaleidoscopic collages, prints, paintings and installations which draw on both Latin American and European traditions. Milhazes’ rigorously structured compositions are punctuated by a recurring set of arabesque motifs inspired by Brazilian culture, ceramics, lacework, carnival decoration, music, and Colonial baroque architecture. As Milhazes explains, “I am seeking geometrical structures, but with freedom of form and imagery taken from different worlds.” The artist has also cited opera, classical and Brazilian popular music as having informed the upbeat energy of her stripes, lines, circular forms, and rays. The careful balance of harmony and dissonance in her work, combined with her Technicolor palette, are evident of the strong influence by such 20th century masters as Tarsila do Amaral, Oswald de Andrade, Matisse, Kandinksy and Delaunay. Milhazes has stated “I need to have all these elements and put them together. They are in some sort of a conflict that will never really end up anywhere. There are not peaceful surfaces. There should be some struggle on the surface and then create some activities for your eyes” (Interview with Beatriz Milhazes, RES Art World/World Art, No. 2 May 2008). As the Fondation Cartier further explains, Milhazes’ “use of intensely vibrant colors, such as fuchsia, gold or orange, endows her canvases with an explosive energy that many have compared to the breathtaking rhythm of fireworks.”
“At the end of the day, technique is very important in the context of my work. Because of it I can have a lot of super‐position” (Interview with Beatriz Milhazes, RES Art World/World Art, No. 2 May 2008). To create the elaborate interplay of shapes, circles, and circles‐within‐circles in her works, Milhazes uses a process closely aligned to monotype and collage. The artist first paints her motifs on a translucent plastic sheet that she applies to the canvas and leaves to dry. When she peels the plastic away, the resulting image is superimposed onto the canvas; however portions of paint are sometimes lost during the process. As the Fondation Cartier writes, “The slow and laborious process leads to rich palimpsests of overlaid images, some fully present, some masked, some only ghostly silhouettes.”
Beatriz Milhazes (born 1960 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) represented Brazil at the 2003 Biennale di Venezia. Selected solo exhibitions include Using Walls, Floors, and Ceilings: Beatriz Milhazes, The Jewish Museum, New York, NY (2016); Jardim Botânico, Perez Art Museum Miami, FL (2014); Meu Bem, Paco Imperiale, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil travelled to Curitiba, Brazil curated by Frederic Paul (2012); Panamericano, MALBA-Fundacion Costantini, Buenos Aires, Argentina curated by Frederic Paul (2011); Beatriz Milhazes, Fondation Beyeler, Basel, Switzerland travelled to Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, Lisbon, Portugal; 2009, Beatriz Milhazes, Foundation Cartier, Paris, France (2008); Retrospective at the Pinacoteca do Estacao, Sao Paolo (2008); Beatriz Milhazes lives and works in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Milhazes’ work is included in prestigious international collections, including the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, Metropolitan Museum of Art and Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY; Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh, PA; Pérez Art Museum Miami, FL; Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sophia, Madrid, Spain; 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa, Japan; Centre Pompidou, Paris, France and Worcester Art Museum, Worcester, MA to name a few.