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Jorge Queiroz

April 24 - June 6, 2021
Cloître Saint-Merri, Paris

Galerie Nathalie Obadia is delighted to present the 7th exhibition of Portuguese painter and draughtsman Jorge Queiroz, whose work will be shown next September at the Calouste Gulbenkian Museum in Lisbon, alongside that of Arshile Gorky.

Born in 1966, in Lisbon, Jorge Queiroz has, since the 1990s, pursued a graphic and pictorial exploration by way of gripping compositions, where figuration flirts with abstraction. Like forays into oneiric universes, his works inscribe themselves within a surrealist and symbolist vein, while also attesting to the influence of the major 20th-century schools, including German neo-expressionism and the contemporary mystical landscape. The exhibition presents a group of recent canvases that emphasize the maturity of his exploration.

From the meanders of a dense, generous, simmering, quasi-musical painting, emerge areas of solid colors and nuances, abstract regions with pronounced reliefs, sketches of scenes punctuated with vague human silhouettes, that deepen and widen the pictorial field. The universes blend together and the possible narrations flow out into these vast spaces that bring to mind almost cosmic landscapes.

Jorge Queiroz’s paintings play on density and breath, and blossom in the fullness of color and in the sinuous gestures and luxuriating touch that recall the “necessary richness” of Gustave Moreau’s ornamental art. These colorful vibrations, in fact, confer to Jorge Queiroz’s work an enchanting glow that can also evoke the glistening shimmers of Peter Doig’s nocturnal visions.

Jorge Queiroz, who admits that he “responds to premonitions” or “echoes a call,” shares a propensity for ecstatic vision and spirituality with the representatives of contemporary landscape painting, such as Georgia O’Keefe, David Hockney, and Per Kirkeby. Under his paintbrushes, paint is like sap, an expansive vital energy, whose movement and evolution illustrate furtive worlds. This undulation is underscored by multiple layers of colors that appear to emerge from the depths, offering a thickness that is conducive to immersing the viewer into the work. As in Per Kirkeby’s oeuvre, the pictorial material can thus appear stratified, and the compositions frequently evoke mineral sedimentation, a fantastically colored topography. Along with the four elements that seem to always be suggested, the contrast between the infinitely minute and infinitely vast is also at play in his canvases.

What’s more, the artist shows originality in the way he combines abstraction with figuration: his work does not seek to represent a topography, an element of landscape, but incarnates it. In addition, certain pictorial phenomena mark the beginnings of an immanent figuration, under the guise of mirages or distant apparitions. Pareidolia is at the heart of this work that strives to encourage the viewer to find links and recognize, in these visual stimulations, familiar and identifiable elements: a sea, a cliff, a prairie, a tempestuous sky, a crater, a solitary individual.

Jorge Queiroz’s ultimate goal is to find a balance between form and chaos, and one can easily apply the two polarities, Dionysian and Apollonian, to his work. His is an expressive painting, one that is fiery, erratic, counterbalanced with a kind of serenity that comes from drawing, from the solid-colored surfaces and from the human figure.
The paintings are eloquent, revealing a true communicative pleasure and a richly imagined world that ties into our natural and supernatural environments. Deeply pantheistic, this work invites us to travel beyond the known borders: “I will say it is a mind romance journey, through the relationships from ideas and ideas of figures and a sea of images; on the road trip, colors melting on the sun and rain in overstimulated landscapes.”