Antonio Henrique Amaral (1935 - 2015)

Cromo e tempo II (1986)
Chrome and Time II

Oil on canvas
height: 180cm
width: 180cm

Donated by Antonio Henrique Amaral 1996


''Antonio Henrique do Amaral's work is powerful evidence of the enduring vitality of painting, despite arguments, as fierce in Brazil as elsewhere, that art's core activities have moved on, to the constructed and assembled, to objects, installations, video and so on. Nourished like Pop artists in the USA and Britain on the punchy idiom of advertising, Amaral has also drawn on the popular cordel literature of Brazil, cheap booklets illustrated with crude and vigorous woodcuts. In the late 1960s and 70s, Amaral painted a now famous series of works featuring a single huge fruit - often a banana, pierced by forks or strung up with rope. These iconic still lifes functioned as symbols of human vulnerability and danger under the repressive military dictatorship in Brazil at the time. Subsequently Amaral has explored with great imaginative freedom the borders between memory and experience. The surfaces of his paintings, as here, are often dynamically divided like a collage, and he maximises the dramatic effects of differences in scale. Here fragments that hint at forms of popular imagery like the heart and the breast, and striped shapes are set against a seascape. The blatant sensuality of the imagery is more subtly echoed in the soft dry flesh tones of the paint.''

Dawn Ades, 2001

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