Beatriz Milhaze

Beatriz Milhazes. Sal (Salt), 2010. Screenprint, woodblock,and woodcut on Saunders 410g.31.5 x 31.5 inches and 31.5 x 39.5 inches

Beatriz Milhazes’ “The Gold Series”

Once again, I had the pleasure of viewing some of Beatriz Milhazes’ works at the James Cohan Gallery. Although this time, Her kaleidoscope designs unravel themselves in woodblocks and screen prints rather then on canvas. The medium may have changed but she has maintained her meticulous approach and continued to make beautiful work. Brilliant, candy-colored organic and geometric shapes appear to have a life of their own as they still swirl or spin across the compositions that make up the “Gold Series”.

Milhazes’ artistry expresses what I constantly try to remind myself everyday: to make the most of every opportunity there is to savor something beautiful or gratifying. Taking from her own Brazilian heritage, she offers her viewers with one of those opportunities. Like a carnival celebration or a flourishing garden, Milhazes’ creations such as Salt offer an escape. Salt is a couple composed of a screen print and woodblock. Flourishing over squares of varying size and two, intersecting rows of gumball like circles, is a large floral design. This motif is made of large blue, jade, and wine colored circles and petals. Beginning at the center it develops and expands so it appears as though it will endlessly bloom outward. Hanging to the right is its counterpart. The left side is composed of the same large jewel colored squares. Toward the center, the squares begin to be covered by large waves and then by thin strips. They are all in varying tones of purples, greens, oranges reds, and icy blues. A large amethyst and lavender circle containing an organic design swirling within that is similar to that of the work hanging beside it. Milhazes seems to have expanded upon the kind of compositions she ordinarily creates.  Although they are still complex, these pieces are not made up of as many shapes, colors, and textures as she has used in other works. It is almost like she has honed in on only a small part of a larger work. Despite being stunning in their own right, it is clear that both of these were meant to come together to form a larger unified piece. As the different shapes begin to overlap or intersect, the work appears to have a life of its own. It is irresistible to continue to stare and wonder how it could still unfold before you.

Considering how often we can easily get so caught up in our lives, how could we never want to let go? I admire Beatriz Milhazes for artistically providing others with the means to loose themselves in something wonderful even if it is just for a moment. Each of the seven artworks that make up “The Gold Series” is a perfectly crafted possibility. Whether for its creator or for the viewer, a work of art does not always have a represent some profound freedom of conscience. It can be carefree and delightful rather then something complicated that must be inspected or examined. Milhazes’ artistic pursuits serve as a visual representation of what fulfillment can be.

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