Carlos Martins (1946 - )

Untitled (1997)

Aquatint on paper
height: 43.5cm
width: 32cm

Donated by Carlos Martins 1998


This print is one of a series produced by different contemporary artists for the Museus Castro Maya (incorporating the two Museums Chácara do Céu and Museu do Açude) in Rio de Janeiro. This project, Amigos de Gravura, began in 1992 as a means of introducing new work by contemporary Brazilian artists into the Museum's exhibition and education programme. Every year, selected artists are invited to participate in the project by producing a new print, the original plate of which is held in the Museum archives. This untitled work by Carlos Martins is inspired by the architecture of the Museu do Açude itself. Although it is drawn with precision, it is a personal interpretation rather than a faithful pictorial rendition. Having been director of the Museum for five years (1991-1995) this image stems from memory, from a very intimate knowledge and familiarity with the space. Contrast between rational reduction and personal memory of place is a constant motif in Martins' work. Here, as in other of his engravings held by ESCALA, the artist uses simplified geometrical form to create a dynamic composition. The arches form the foreground and delimit two further planes, whose depth is described by the angle of each diagonal; contrasting colour creates a further sense of spatial modulation. The use of precise geometry to create spatial order is another characteristic of Martins work, particularly evident in the series 10 Cantos, three examples of which (Canto 2, Canto 4 and (Canto 10) are held by ESCALA. The use of colour distinguishes this work from Martins' earlier engravings, in which subtle monochromatic modulation is created by areas of differently engraved texture.

Isobel Whitelegg, 2008

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