The Naïve Art of Brazil and Argentina
GINA Gallery’s new exhibition highlights the “contrasting similarities” between the naïve art of Brazil and Argentina. The similar elements or characteristics include a refreshing innocence; simple, easily-understandable and often idealized scenes of everyday life; the charming use of bright colors; punctilious detail; and child-like perspective and scale. However, the subjects – and especially the narrative that each artwork celebrates – are “worlds apart” from one another, offering us contrasts that are embracing and uplifting at one and the same time.
Brazilian naïve art conjures up images of lush landscapes shimmering with tropical colors; awesome rain forests brimming with a feast of flora and fauna; scenes pulsating with the beat of the samba and bossa nova, and the rhythmic rituals of Candomble. Clearly, Brazilian naivism reflects the intermingling of many different cultures – Portuguese, African, Indian and Asian – and this mixture has provided a fertile ground for budding artists of great originality. Brazilians are naturally spontaneous and creative, and are uninhibited in expressing their emotions, and these traits are reflected in their naïve artworks.
In contrast, Argentina’s customs have never had the dramatic impact upon the local naïve artists as the Indian and African cultures have had on their fellow artists to the north. Instead, the waves of immigration to Argentina – in particular from Europe – during the past two centuries, and the resultant melding of European and other traditions with those of the indigenous population, have directly affected Argentinean life. These influences are seen, quite clearly, in the works of the Argentine naïves, which depict, in heartwarming colors and detail, the resonance of the city (particularly Buenos Aires, “the Paris of South America”), the beat of the tango, the pulse of the pampas, the swagger of the gauchos and the silent beauty of Patagonia.