One could see Ana Manso's exhibitions as a series of occurrences responding to certain contexts—they take place under particular sets of conditions. Her paintings are windows that grasp excerpts of the real; occasionally their qualities are turned into art pieces. Space is surely an expansive dimension in which painting can be set against; so far Ana Manso's works follow a serious historicity. But out of relevant conventions, they truly touch upon an informal and empathic practice.
Room’s corners are affirmed, thick layers and dusty colors, cracked paint, allovers, slight touches or spatters, materiality in depth, why-not-bubbly surfaces, humid wooden plates absorbing liquid and revealing delicate transparencies. Ana Manso gets you to know better the elements composing the spaces that host her paintings. Her site specific interventions integrate surfaces as pictorial motifs. Empâtement along pointillisme, to name a few techniques. Liquidity and dissolution, to name a few characteristics. What strikes me in Ana Manso's works is her ability to use a very diverse pictorial vocabulary while remaining incredibly singular and personal.
You’ll find in this text unstrained thoughts; I’m allowing myself to share with you the taste of one of these occurrences. Less than a year ago at A certain lack of coherence in Porto, Manso drew with great virtuosity a wall drawing where she deliberately played with the wall’s surface and its asperities. This was a particular exhibition in Manso's practice. More recently she participated in a group show at FUTURA, in Prague, where she delved further into her experiments with murals by making another single wall piece that adds others specificities to her artist practice.
Manso took the shape of a large light green horseshoe as the starting point for her new artworks, made for her third solo show at Pedro Cera's gallery. By doing this, Ana Manso is clearly turning the exhibition space into what could be defined as an essay. She selected a mural that had been previously shown and is now presenting it alongside new canvas paintings, fresh out of the studio.
Ana Manso is here investigating, as freely as was she has in the previous environments, the gallery space, where, after circulating, this horseshoe may expand towards a certain iconicity. While Ana Manso's paintings are often described as abstract, this depiction of a horseshoe steps out of what may have been predicted. While playing with its luck symbol aura, the artist placed next to it another pastel piece: a depiction of an architectural detail of a wall decoration she found while walking in the streets. It’s amusing how discretely Manso uses reproducible images she finds in her daily life in order to reset sceneries and patterns onto pictorial dimensions.
Gathered in large mural these small objects and decor pieces shift references regimes as well as a certain temporality.
According to the order of appearance the horseshoe slides from an almost symbolist attempt to an experiment with matter. To consider Ana Manso's paintings as an evolving process will most surely give a better understanding of the exhibition's title. Her actions provoke things to appear, layer after layer, and her paintings often depict the duration that was needed in order to make them. In order of appearance is a welcoming introspection.
Text by Estelle Nabeyrat.
Photos by Bruno Lopes.
Ana Manso - In Order of Appearance
Galeria Pedro Cera, November 17 - December 23