Modern painting has indoctrinated us to the abstinence of the gaze, made us fast. No color, no figure, no texture, no gesture, no scale, no movement, no light, no time and no space. The abandonment of the flesh for the purification of the eye and the spirit. The Gospel according to Reinhardt.
From Modern Painting’s pulpit all days are Good Fridays: one does not eat meat.
Parody and grotesque are two main aspects in Sara Maia’s work. Upside down and inside out are their proper movements: whichever is held as most sacred is debased and turned inside out, its bowels exposed and devoured. Abstinence turns into feast, the Corpus Christi procession into a Carnival parade.
Sara Maia’s painting is deeply carnivalesque. It is teeming with images that, at first, take us to Medieval and Renaissance Painting: triptychs and predellas, sermons and holy communions, annunciations, descents from the cross and pietas, martyrs and saints of all sorts. Old European Art desecrated, sure, but also revivified and well fed.
Perhaps, the greatest desecration is, after all, carried out by a sole painting named “O pai do pai do pai do pai, a mãe da mãe da mãe da mãe, somos todos filhos” [the father of the father of the father of the father, the mother of the mother of the mother of the mother, we are all children]. In it we witness the corruption of the old modernist grid, its purity defiled with figures, Painting’s essential vertical and horizontal coordinates turned into parades or round dances. Mondrian turning in his grave.
Jorge André Catarino