Vivid and striking paintings by Brazilian artist Fernanda Merlino are on show at Chichester’s Oxmarket Centre of Arts from December 5-18 (10am-4.30pm, closed Mondays).
“I am originally from Brazil and have been living in England since 1998, where I have established myself as a practising artist and art teacher,” Fernanda said. “I have done all my art and teaching training in the UK, so I have a BA in fine art & design from Chelsea College and a PGCE in art & design from Goldsmiths College. I have lived in London for all this time but moved to Chichester in April last year as my English husband was transferred to West Sussex through work.
“My main inspirations are nature, festivals, cultural diversity, poetry in the form of art, vibrant colours and imaginary or dream-like places. Using this inspiration I build acrylic, oil and mixed media paintings on canvas, creating vibrant, textured, abstract landscapes. I have exhibited in Brazil, England and Ireland. My most recent shows were the Arundel Gallery Trail and last year Shankill Castle in Ireland. I am now looking forward to my solo exhibition at the Oxmarket, John Rank Gallery.
“I am now based in Chichester, and I would say that the views of the countryside and its animals, landscapes and green fields have been inspiring my bright, organic and colourful paintings. Fascinated by the expressive drawings and the narratives in Frida Kahlo’s diary, the texture of skin and unusual colours in Lucien Freud’s portraits, the expression of the organic in Helen Chadwick’s photographs, the sense of isolation and powerful darkness in Tacita Dean’s films and other artists’ work, I fell in love with the smell and the texture of paint and went to study Art & Design at Central Saint Martins, which was my first real encounter with art. After completing the course at Saint Martin’s in June 1998, I began building a portfolio, which I took to Kensington & Chelsea College.
“My art is my voice. I paint what I feel, and how I feel, as an instinct. I enjoy the challenge of trying to capture the definition of an object in my landscapes and collages using charcoal, oil pastel crayons, acrylic and oil paint, then deconstructing the accuracy of that object to create a new meaning, focusing on the abstraction of lines, shapes and tint. I admire the beauty and the density of different textures; therefore I explore different media apart from paint, such as dense layers of gesso, PVA glue, sand, etc.
“I have been preparing my paint brushes, spatulas and canvases for the solo exhibition at John Rank Gallery, which will feature a new collection of dense textured mixed-media, figurative and abstract paintings based on imaginary landscapes and bright collages on canvas.”
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