Thanks to Sarah Thornton’s 33 Artists in 3 Acts I was introduced to Beatriz Milhazes. I was immediately intrigued by her, as she was brave enough to talk about the ‘B’ word: BEAUTY. It isn’t the most popular idea or goal in contemporary art….quite the opposite.
Ms Milhazes says, Human beings want something beautiful to live with. That is not a shallow desire. It affects our well-being.
She goes on to say, We have the feeling that the world doesn’t need artists because art doesn’t meet our basic needs to survive. But that’s not true. Even the most primitive cultures have decorative art. (33 Artists in 3 Acts, p. 339)
She qualifies her stance on beauty: I don’t want easy beauty. I want conflict. I want intensity, strong dialoguing, challenging eye movement. (33 Artists in 3 Acts, p. 340.)
She is certainly accomplishing that in her work. To learn more about her art, and, in particular, her unique process of collage/painting, you can click on this short video (produced by Philip Dolin and Molly Bernstein for the James Cohon Gallery. The glimpses of Rio de Janeiro alone are worth viewing.)
When Sarah Thornton asks Beatriz Milhazes What kind of artist are you? she replies: I tell my friends that I’m like a bank worker. I come to the studio five days a week and do my job. I pay attention to detail and try not to make mistakes. (33 Artists in 3 Acts, p. 344.)
Now if only we had time to zip over to Hong Kong (!) to see her show at the White Cube.