Continuing Galeria Estação's commitment to discovering and promoting new talents, we are pleased to introduce the artist Rafael Pereira. He was born in São Paulo and currently resides in Caraguatatuba, São Paulo.
It was the collector Edmar Pinto Costa and the visual artist Germana Monte-Mór who first discovered and introduced me to Rafael's work. I recognized in him a natural talent that deserved encouragement and exposure. I enjoy featuring these emerging artists and providing them with the opportunity to express themselves.
In late 2021, we began acquiring Rafael's works for our collection with the intention of presenting his first exhibition to the public. The visual artist and curator Tiago Sant’Ana curates this show.
We invite you to come and experience it for yourselves.
Rafael Pereira: Sculpting Images
A woman sits in a wooden chair, gazing forward as if staring at the horizon. Her hair is voluminous and elegantly styled to the back of her head. Her two hands touch the chair's armrest. Her attire carries shades of white with interwoven details in pink and green, contrasting with a section of the wall just behind her, adorned with earthy reddish geometric patterns. The wall serves as a divider, allowing us to glimpse, further into the image, a landscape with a densely blue sky over a vibrant panorama of small green and yellow hills.
The described image is one of the paintings created by São Paulo-based artist Rafael Pereira. The effort in providing a meticulous description of this artwork is directly proportional to the level of attention to detail that the artist incorporates into his work. He adeptly crafts a visual landscape that seamlessly blends elements of traditional painting genres, including portraiture, landscapes, and still life. However, although he draws from these celebrated visual paths in the history of art, Pereira implements them interchangeably and interprets them from his unique Brazilian pictorial repertoire, using vigorous brushwork and a chromatic palette that alternates between vibrancy, seen in the greens and blues, and more subdued colors, particularly white and brown.
Rafael Pereira was born in São Paulo in 1986 and began painting as a self-taught artist at the age of 18 when he received a set of paints and paper as a birthday gift. However, it was from the age of 23 that he devoted himself full-time to painting. Despite being born in the city of São Paulo (the capital of the state that bears the same name), Pereira has traversed various Brazilian cities and geographies, including Novo Airão in the state of Amazonas, Ouro Preto and Teófilo Otoni in the state of Minas Gerais, Pontal do Paraná in the southern region of Brazil, until settling in Caraguatatuba on the coast of São Paulo, where he currently resides and works. This journey through diverse places has enabled Pereira to become an observer of human movements and landscape changes, accumulating emotional and artistic memories throughout his life, which now serve as the foundation for his visually dynamic and chromatically elegant paintings.
The artist's portraits frequently establish a dual relationship between the internal and the external. He is keen on crafting compositions where faces take center stage while also recognizing the importance of the subject's surroundings in enhancing the visual and conceptual depth of the artwork. This inclination might be rooted in the artist's desire to position his characters within distinct settings or contexts. In Pereira's artistic lexicon, the painting's background serves a purpose beyond mere subject emphasis; it unveils extra semantic layers within the piece. At times, it may reveal the texture of the sea or the presence of historical structures, becoming a part of the artist's emotional and symbolic landscape.
Pereira, through his portraits and depictions of landscapes often recognized as "Brazilian scenes," follows in the footsteps of a modern Brazilian portrait tradition. However, the young São Paulo artist deviates from this modernist school in his approach to portraying the "Other." Instead of presenting the other in an exotic or stereotypical manner, Rafael Pereira draws from his visual memories and produces artwork that can be analyzed through the lens of "Afro-Brazilian art." His works are imbued with emotion and are familiar in terms of his own socio-racial identity.
Another crucial biographical detail in understanding Rafael Pereira's body of work is his early career as a gemstone cutter – an occupation he learned in Minas Gerais, a region historically known for its precious gemstone exploitation and its strong connections to Baroque architecture and Afro-Brazilian identities. As we approach the pieces displayed in the artist's first exhibition at Galeria Estação – an exhibition dedicated to his mother, Maria do Carmo Alves Jardim, and the memory of his father, Dilson Pereira Ramalho – we can see that his experience in gemstone cutting is reflected in the meticulousness of his artistic technique. He painstakingly works on the details and intricacies, which are particularly evident in fabric patterns, landscape backgrounds, or the creation of ornaments around or to the side of the people he portrays.
This leads us to the conclusion that Rafael Pereira doesn't just present an artistic endeavor as a mere reflection of his time. He's an artist of the contemporary who can reflect on his own reality. He's also a "sculptor of images" who, in his own way, carves edges, regions of light and shadow, brighter and duller reliefs. He does so using canvases, oil paints, and brushes to construct a unique universe that, far from revisiting canonical representations of the modern, invites us to see emotion, simplicity, and color as the pulsations of life.
The inaugural solo exhibition of Rafael Pereira at Galeria Estação, titled "Sculpting Images," pays tribute to the rich cultural heritage of the Black community and delves into the provocative aesthetics of modernist portraiture.
Curated by Tiago Sant’ana, this exhibition brings together 20 oil paintings on canvas, offering a glimpse into a pictorial production profoundly shaped by the artist's experiences during his extensive journeys across Brazil.
Rafael Pereira, an emerging talent, employs a deeply personal approach to portraiture that evokes the social and figurative elements characteristic of modernist painting. His work is now being introduced to the São Paulo audience through a comprehensive retrospective, "Rafael Pereira – Sculpting Images," which opens to the public on November 13th.
This marks Rafael Pereira's inaugural solo presentation at Galeria Estação, and it will remain on view until January 20, 2024. Curated by Tiago Sant’ana, the exhibition comprises 20 oil paintings on canvas, primarily portraits, while also encompassing still lifes and landscapes that evoke figures and locales familiar to the artist, including Novo Airão in the Amazonas, Ouro Preto and Teófilo Otoni in Minas Gerais, Pontal do Paraná in the southern region of the country, and Caraguatatuba on the northern coast of São Paulo, where the artist currently resides.
Pereira himself provides insight into his artistic journey, sharing, "I lived in various regions of Brazil and began my painting endeavors in 2008. In 2013, I made the decision to leave São Paulo and embark on my first expedition, which I then referred to as an 'artistic journey.' Armed with my paints, I ventured to an unfamiliar city, Ouro Preto in Minas Gerais. Whenever I relocated to different cities, I was not only seeking new homes but also new canvases for my art. I absorbed the unique lifestyles, cultures, colors, flora, and fauna of each place, which enabled me to weave a tapestry of images and experiences to fill what I describe as my 'memories."
For the exhibition's curator, this mosaic of geographic spaces, capable of evoking a range of emotions and perceptions, underscores the distinctive artistic identity of Rafael Pereira. According to Sant’ana, this distinctiveness is most evident in the artist's generous treatment of his subjects. He notes, "Rafael's work possesses a distinct quality that transforms the ordinary, the everyday scenes, into something poetic, simultaneously exuding elegance and sophistication. This is evident, for instance, in the way he composes the attire of his subjects and the dignity with which he portrays them."
The title of the exhibition, "Sculpting Images," alludes to the fact that the artist worked as a gemstone cutter during his time in the city of Teófilo Otoni. For the curator, the skills he acquired in this northeastern Minas Gerais town also significantly influence Rafael Pereira's artistic technique. He explains, "The experience of gemstone cutting is reflected in the meticulousness of his artistic gestures, especially in the details of clothing patterns, the backgrounds of landscapes, or the ornamental elements constructed around or alongside the depicted individuals."
For the artist, the ten-month-long journey of investigations and reflections with the curator brought to light crucial elements that contribute to the cohesiveness of his artistic works spanning the last 15 years. He emphasizes, "The consistent portrayal of people in a simple and dignified manner is one of the key factors that unites the works in this exhibition. Another significant aspect is the creation of environments and elements featured in this body of work, all deeply connected to my personal experiences and emotional memories. The rural landscapes that form a part of my daily life, the cherished objects, such as the guitar, characters reminiscent of familiar and known individuals – all these elements reinforce the unity I seek to achieve in my art." Rafael dedicates this exhibition to his mother, Maria do Carmo Alves Jardim, and in memory of his father, Dilson Pereira Ramalho.
Vilma Eid, co-founder of Galeria Estação, shares her perspective on discovering Rafael Pereira's work through the visual artist Germana Monte-Mór and collector Edmar Pinto Costa, stating that representing the artist was an undeniable decision. She remarks, "I recognized in Rafael a natural talent that deserved nurturing and exposure. I've always enjoyed providing opportunities for young talents like him to express themselves. In late 2021, we began acquiring his works for our collection aiming at presenting Rafael's first exhibition to the public, now realized with the curatorship of the visual artist and curator Tiago Sant’Ana."
About Rafael Pereira:
Born in São Paulo in 1986, Rafael relocated to Teófilo Otoni (MG) with his family during his childhood. It was there that he honed his skills in working with precious gemstones. Returning to São Paulo at the age of 17, Rafael balanced work to sustain himself with his self-taught exploration of painting and drawing. He experimented with various mediums, including oil paint, ink, and pastel chalk.
At the age of 24, he decided to fully dedicate himself to his career as an artist, selling his work on the streets of different cities across Brazil. His personal experiences serve as the guiding force behind Rafael Pereira's artistic exploration and inform the imagery in his work. His African heritage strongly influences the aesthetic rhythm of his creations, evident in the use of symbols and vibrant colors. The creative process commences with the application of colors to the canvas, gradually unveiling the mental images and associated emotions that culminate in the composition.
From Rafael Pereira's early artistic endeavors, which were encouraged by collectors Claudete Guitar and Torquato Saboia Pessoa, to his most recent creations, one can trace the rich tapestry of his life story. For example, the series of paintings "Catadores de Cana" (Sugarcane croppers) (2021) delves into the lives of sugarcane cutters, resurrecting not only his father's profession but also the circumstances surrounding his passing. Portraiture remains a central theme in the artist's work, with depictions of individuals he encountered throughout his life and in his familial surroundings. These figures, often gazing intensely at the viewer, populate his artistic imagination. Additionally, Rafael Pereira has delved into woodcut printmaking, self-taught and guided by fellow artists, using references from Brazilian modernism to thoroughly explore the techniques, materials, and tools of the craft. Artists like Candido Portinari, Ismael Nery, Lasar Segall, and Tarsila do Amaral inspire the settings, strokes, and themes evident in his artworks.
About Galeria Estação
Galeria Estação, established by Vilma Eid and Roberto Eid Philipp at the end of 2004, houses an extensive collection that stands as one of the foremost and pioneering in the country. The gallery is renowned for promoting and revealing non-erudite Brazilian art production. By publishing works and organizing individual and collective exhibitions, the gallery has played a pivotal role in integrating this unique artistic language into the contemporary art scene. The artists represented by Galeria Estação have also achieved international recognition, participating in exhibitions such as "Histoire de Voir" at the Fondation Cartier pour l’Art Contemporain in France in 2012, and the "Entre dois Mares – São Paulo | Valencia" Biennial in Spain in 2007. A notable international achievement was the individual exhibition of Veio – Cícero Alves dos Santos in Venice, which coincided with the Venice Art Biennale in 2013.
In Brazil, apart from being featured in prestigious individual and collective exhibitions, the gallery's artists have their works in prominent collectors and esteemed institutions. These include the Pinacoteca do Estado de São Paulo, the Museu de Arte de São Paulo, the Museu Afro Brasil (SP), the Pavilhão das Culturas Brasileiras (SP), the Instituto Itaú Cultural (SP), Sesc São Paulo, the MAM – Museu de Arte Moderna do Rio de Janeiro, and the MAR in Rio de Janeiro.
Rafael Pereira – Sculpting Images
When: November 13th, 2023, to January 20th, 2024
Where: Galeria Estação
Address: Rua Ferreira Araújo, 625 – Pinheiros, São Paulo
Vernissage: November 13th (Monday), from 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM
Gallery opening hours: Monday to Friday, from 11:00 AM to 7:00 PM; Saturdays, from 11:00 AM to 3:00 PM; closed on Sundays
Phone: +55 11 3813-7253