Brazilian artist Marina Rheingantz’s paintings explore nature and the built environment, both real and imagined. Suggestions of buildings, houses, trees, and other structures float on an abstracted blue field. The scale of human-made forms in Rheingatz’s work is unsettling; they appear inconsequential to the whole. Her technique is further disorienting, consisting of thick impasto but also thin washes.
Rheingantz cites many influences, but for WCMA the most important is Maurice Brazil Prendergast. The museum has the largest holdings of Prendergast, and we have placed five watercolors of Italy in dialogue with Rheingantz’s Vavale. Beyond formal similarities of weightless forms created with passages of staccato brushwork, Rheingantz and Prendergast manifest scenes observed or remembered. Prendergast’s work is frequently discussed as anodyne images of middle-class leisure. The juxtaposition of Vavale might allow us to investigate criticality in his work– perhaps he is commenting on the frivolous banality of the tourist spots he depicted.