"I find I'm inspired by seclusion. If I sequester myself for
long stretches of work, isolation allows me to be open to the suggestion of the
painting in front of me. Isolation allows experience to be heard...The world
outside always offers hints and clues, but I make my discoveries inside, while
Caio Fonseca 2007
Caio Fonseca, Pietrasanta Painting C06.59 (left) and Pietrasanta Painting C06.63 (right), 2006, mixed media on canvas, 30 x 30 inches. Paul Kasmin Gallery, New YorkLike a breath of fresh air, Caio Fonseca's recent show at Paul Kasmin Gallery gives the spectator a chance to stop and enjoy with all the senses what has been presented in front. There was no better time than Spring to show these new canvases and works on paper so full of light and rhythm. Continuing with his approach of execution and color palette the new paintings by Mr. Fonseca seem to have shed a few layers to reveal a fresh new space. Whether the scale of the pieces are small or large, an openness not present in earlier work pulls the viewer in to free spaces where different shapes dance about the picture.
At first glance the use of color may seem restricted, with white and black playing predominant roles. But looking closely at each painting one can see the intensity of the paint layers and coloring. Mr. Fonseca covers his spaces with semi-organic geometric shapes using high key colors like red and yellow. Every shape has been placed at strategic points in the the pictures, keeping in mind what will be revealed or hidden in the final stage. Underlying stripes run horizontal across the space echoing the lines formed by strings attached to the surface at the beginning stages of preparation. These strings add a delicate yet potent three dimensional quality to the flat two dimensional space of the painting surface. Adding more to the textural qualities of the paintings, zigzag lines, and other kinds of incisions run across the picture cutting through and/or emulating some of the shapes that fill the space.
Caio Fonseca, Pietrasanta Painting C06.20, 2006, mixed media on canvas, 50 x 72 inches. Paul Kasmin Gallery, New York
Almost all of Caio Fonseca's paintings end up with a top layer of semi white paint, a thick layer that at times becomes almost transparent developing misty effects and revealing ghostly impressions of the underlying composition, as seen in areas of Pietrasanta Painting C06.20. Movement in his compositions plays a very important role. Bars, squares and semi circles move about the picture like musical notes put into action. There's a certain magical illusion of notes being blown across pages by a breeze, creating rhythmic patterns which may be closely tied to Mr. Fonseca's training as a classical piano player. It is known that before the working day starts, Mr. Fonseca sits in at his piano and warms up his hands by playing music which will call upon his muse.
Caio Fonseca, Pietrasanta Painting C06.18, 2006, mixed media on canvas, 52 x 72 inches. Paul Kasmin Gallery, New York
The new compositions are well thought out, but there's an element of light hearted playfulness that sets these pieces in motion. Such playful element is very apparent in Pietrasanta Painting C06.18, a festive painting with red and ochre accents frolicking about the space. Among the other paintings in the group, this piece vibrates with an energy like an explosion of confetti finding its way through the air. These lively colorful shapes are sections left untouched by the last layer of white paint, little windows which reveal the painting's past.
Caio Fonseca, Pietrasanta Painting P06.24, 2006, gouache on paper, 30 x 42 inches. Paul Kasmin Gallery, New York
Much of the enjoyment that comes from looking at Caio Fonseca's work is the awareness of the painting process. The constant layering of paint in search of the moment when a piece realizes itself. It has been insinuated by many in recent years that painting is dead, but this show puts all of those rumors to sleep, since Caio Fonseca in one of many mature abstract painters who keep pushing the ideas and approaches of painting. Like some of his contemporaries, Brice Marden, Sean Scully and Pat Steir to name a few, Mr. Fonseca uses paint as way to solve a visual problem. Working away by adding and subtracting, he arrives at his compositions in the manner of many great painters who have come before him.
Caio Fonseca, Pietrasanta Painting P06.25, 2006, gouache on paper, 30 x 42 inches. Paul Kasmin Gallery, New York
"A white canvas has all the qualities you look for in a final work...it has
unity and purity"
Caio Fonseca, 03/28/2006
Lecture at The New York Studio School of Drawing and Painting