• Alex Gama, Trama XXXI, 1987

    Alex Gama, Trama XXXI, 1987

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5 April 2002 - 27 May 2002

The exhibition, selected by former ESCALA curator Gabriela Salgado, consisted of a group of twenty works in a variety of media, including a number of his abstract prints and drawings held by ESCALA. Three wood blocks used for printing will complete the display in order to encourage understanding of the working process.

The exhibition revealed the variety of techniques and formats employed in Gama's elegantly crafted works on paper, ranging from a large format woodcut on Japanese paper (187 x 91 cm) to small sketches. ESCALA holds a large number of works by Gama. These include three cedar-printing boards for block printing, graphite drawings and a variety of woodcuts.

Gama's use of woodcut as a printing technique evokes the historical relevance of printmaking in Latin America. Used in many cases as a low cost device to communicate political events and social concern or simply to distribute the work of popular literary figures - such as, in Brazil, the tradition of Literatura de cordel - woodblock printing relates the natural grain of the wood to the lines incised by the artist in marvellous combination.

Such is the case with Alex Gama's abstract prints, which marry the traditions implicit in the medium with a language born from the concerns of modern art, deploying rhythm, tonality and shadow as their sole narrative. Minimal in appearance and elaborate in execution, the graphite drawings signify a different approach in Alex Gama's artistic endeavour. These works seem to reveal the pursuit of silence and void, the search of a space for meditation. The mechanical covering of the surface line over line to achieve a monochrome surface reminds us of a mantra. The result is a minimal image that seems to invite calm thought and sensation, working as a window on the soul drawn in mono-tonal perfection.

Gabriela Salgado, Curator

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