Turner Contemporary’s next exhibition is by Brazilian artist Beatriz Milhazes, widely recognised as one of the leading abstract artists working today.
Her return to the UK in a new solo institutional exhibition, Maresias will feature 20 key paintings and 5 works on paper from 1989 to more recent years.
The exhibition will highlight nature as an enduring and increasingly important theme in her work. This is echoed in the exhibition’s title Maresias, which refers to the salty ocean breeze that is part of Milhazes’ everyday life in the coastal city of Rio de Janeiro.
The exhibition reflects the new strand of the gallery’s programme dedicated to contemporary ecological issues.
A major installation will also be presented in the Sunley Gallery Window.
Milhazes emerged in the 1980s as a leading figure in the Brazilian art movement Geração Oitenta (1980s Generation), which moved away from the austere conceptual art of the previous decade and embraced painting as a form of energy and expression. Today, Milhazes is known for intensely colourful, large-scale abstract canvases with tiny cracks and layers which show the memory of her painting process.
The exhibition will open in the West Gallery with Milhazes’ paintings from the late 1980s and 1990s, including Eu só queria entender por que ele fez isso (1989) and Casa da Maria (1992).
Works will also be on display in the Small South Gallery and North Gallery, from expansive paintings such as Fleur de la passion: Maracujá (1995–6) to the denser compositions of Maresias (2002) and Férias de verão (2005).
Works influenced by the botanical gardens and Tijuca forest near her studio, as well as Rio de Janeiro’s ocean front, will include O sol de Londres (2003) as well as the more recent Douradinha em cinza e marrom (2016) and Margueritola (2014–15).
The Irene Willett Gallery will present a selection of collages, sharing the artist’s approach to this medium combining found papers and packaging.
Milhazes will bring an iteration of O Esplendor for Turner Contemporary’s Sunley Gallery Window, following the installation at the Long Museum, Shanghai, in 2021. This site-specific installation in coloured vinyl cut outs will bathe two floors of the gallery in coloured light and create a spectacular dialogue with the view onto the North Sea. In turn, O Esplendor will also be visible from the beach.
Inspired by the work of Milhazes, Turner Contemporary will be running carnival-themed workshops in the lead up to Margate Carnival on Sunday 6 August.
Beatriz Milhazes: Maresias is co-curated by Melissa Blanchflower, Senior Curator and Emma Lewis, Curator.
Beatriz Milhazes said: “I am excited to be making this exhibition at Turner Contemporary – connecting the coastal landscape of Rio de Janeiro with Margate and celebrating the experience of being next to the ocean, in the salt air, and attuned to the colour and joy, order and harmony of the natural word”.
Clarrie Wallis, Director of Turner Contemporary, said: “Turner Contemporary is proud to present Beatriz Milhazes: Maresias. This solo exhibition of the renowned Brazilian artist Beatriz Milhazes marks the beginning of the new programme under my Directorship, presenting Beatriz’s first survey exhibition in a UK public gallery since 2001.
“The exhibition reflects the gallery’s mission to broaden reach, introducing the work of international artists to new audiences. It will demonstrate how Beatriz’s focus on nature’s fragility and the importance of its preservation has become increasingly significant in her practice over time.”
The exhibition runs from 27 May – 10 September. Opening hours: Monday: Closed, Tuesday – Sunday, plus Bank Holidays: 10am – 5pm