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CORES DO INTERIOR| MARP museu de arte de Ribeirão Preto


Cores do Interior by Paula Borghi

With a panoramic look at the work of Renata Egreja, Colors of the Interior is a project that is divided between two solo exhibitions held at the institutions Fama and MARP, respectively in Itu and Ribeirão Preto; cities in the interior of São Paulo. With a commitment to contextualizing more than a decade of artistic research, the exhibitions take place independently, even though they are complementary. In them, it is possible to browse through a total of 27 works made between 2009 and 2023, following the artist’s conceptual and poetic path of investigation.

With the intention of tracing a generous and affectionate path to enter deeply into this vast and fruitful artistic trajectory, the curatorial axis is guided by color as a guide. Understanding chromatic potential as one of the main symptoms of Renata Egreja’s work, it is presented as an active agent in the construction of form, gesture and language. Choosing painting as her main means of communicating with the world, it can be said that the artist finds her expression in the pictorial matrix.

As the title suggests, this is a project that goes through both a personal perspective (what is at the core of its author, in her interior), as well as a geographical one (as a manifestation of an interior landscape), and a historical one (the symbolic representation of colors). So it is in the meeting of these three instances that the works presented here are organized, in a weave of possibilities that also instigates the public to access its own particularities, its interior.

Regarding the color palette of Renata Egreja’s production, it is worth highlighting the color pink as one of the main protagonists. Present in different shades in almost every work, this is the hue that accompanies the artist in her studio and living space. A natural and resident of Ipaussu, a city located in the interior of São Paulo almost on the border with the state of Paraná, the most beautiful sunset in Brazil takes place there, according to the artist. Famous for its pink variations, typical of the sun setting in the west, this natural and daily phenomenon is one of her great inspirations. The perception of the inland landscape as an agent of contemplation, of delight, of being in contact with nature.

The landscape is seen as a geographical indicator, of a place that is on the fringes of large urban centers, of the different shades of gray of concrete and asphalt. While the color in her work comes from a color that she experiences on a daily basis and in a natural way, with an intensity that can only be accessed outside the megalopolises, it is through the chromatic exaggeration in the combinations of tie-dye, oil and acrylic painting techniques, plus the presence of natural and synthetic pigments, such as mica and glitter, that the diversity of media and colors is cultivated.

With regard to these shades of pink, it can be seen that they are close to the symbolism of blood, the color of the earth and the sunset of Ipaussu, as already mentioned. Again, the place and all the issues of this physical and symbolic “interior” act as agents in this artistic production, because it is against formalism that the artist’s subjectivity is present in her work. These are aspects that awaken color to its own sensitive perception, capable of addressing the affections present in motherhood, welcoming and loving.

Regarding the theme of the works, the still life genre is recurrent, as well as the universe of the domestic environment. Once again, the aim is to give birth to what is in the inner space. The house, the ornaments and her family are some of the influences, often present through the imagery of flowers. However, it is possible to see that the still life approached by Renata Egreja is as alive as she is. References to flowers, plants and geometric shapes (typical of the genetic formations of life) are combined with chromatic studies that give body to the artist’s work, as if her images were telling the world that they feel the vital force of birds, rivers, children, plants and everything that pulses, that lives. In a synthetic way, as if her images vibrated at the same vital frequency as her inspirations. 

As for the historical approach to the use of the color pink, it has recently been associated with the issue of the female gender, especially after 1980, driven by capitalism. Similarly, this issue can be associated with the color blue, since it is the dichotomy between blue and pink that forms the basis of a palette aimed at binary gender identification. This identification has since become prevalent in many cultures in the clothing of babies and children in their first years of life as one of the first visual devices for categorizing binary gender. Fruit of this generation, it is worth remembering that the artist grew up under the influence of the association of color with binary gender.

Making use of the color pink, floral iconography and adornment, themes very expensive to her research, it is important and necessary to be careful not to judge the works exhibited here with concepts that evoke judgments elaborated by patriarchy. There is a feminist position in Colors of the Interior, within the many feminisms that exist. Like saying: Yes, there will be female artists doing still life paintings with pink tones, yes! Inspired and accompanied by the echo of other artists such as Georgia O’Keeffe, Gabriela Machado and Beatriz Milhazes, she also faces criticism for her production being categorized as “eye candy” and feminine. The following are adjectives used as synonyms for inferiority. In response, the presence of pink, flowers and glitter.

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