Words by Katie Farley
Brazilian artist Henrique Oliveira is unapologetically redefining creativity in his field by accelerating innovation and pushing the boundaries of both painting and sculpture amid his avant-garde installations. A brazen pioneer who’s works can only be categorized in a league of their own, Oliveira produces fascinating works of art that captures and attracts a lengthy, intriguing gaze, resulting in a somewhat mesmerizing effect. These artfully astounding pieces translate as gargantuan scale, location-specific installations with dense layers that fearlessly intertwine, curve, bend and split to create irregular, visually chaotic and abstract features.
Oliveira employs “tapumes” – which in Portuguese translates as fencing, boarding, or enclosure – as a heading for the majority of his oversized installations. The term directly relates to the temporary wooden construction fences that aesthetically occupy Oliveira’s home city of São Paulo. Tapumes transpires as the initial inspiration that the emerging artist draws from his works, a material that was originally seen through his bedroom window whilst studying at university and has now emerged as his artful identity amid his spatial wooden pieces.
As time past, Henrique noticed the wood deteriorating and separating into multiple colors and layers. His first installation that was exhibited within his final student show was constructed from the worn out plywood fencing that was discarded. “What first caught my attention on this kind of deteriorated plywood was its pictorial aspect,” Henrique says. “The textures, the colors and the different tones that were organized in layers, reminded me of a painting surface,” he adds.
Despite his wooden pieces evoking a hectic, monstrous aesthetic, they similarly attain a natural feeling in juxtaposition to his older, less naturalistic paintings. ”They have two different moods and I like to have them in parallel, I think they even work as a compensation for each other,” he says adding: ”The artificiality of my paintings is related to the materials and the colors I use, but they have a truth in the sense that they don’t try to be anything they are not, what you see there, is paint manipulated on a surface. My wood constructions are natural in their materiality, but they are artificial in the sense that they give the viewer a sensation of something that is actually not happening.”
Henrique Oliveira’s “pictorial and organic” artworks reflect a visually arresting aura. They create a dramatic sense of movement that captivates the spectator, additionally impactful via their overtly large and empowering essence.