Mary Fletcher

Beatriz Milhazes: O Diamante, 2002. Photo: Vicente de Mello. © Beatriz Milhazes Studio

Tate St Ives have a new show on until 29 September Maresias meaning ‘salty breezes’, by Beatrix Malhazes who lives in Rio, a show coming from Margate and also a room of Rothko paintings from London.

To go from one to the other is like a trip to a tropical carnival full of colour and pattern hearing dancing salsa rhythms, seeing luscious vegetation around Beatriz Milhazes studio in Rio and tasting bubbly cocktails, moving through spacious light rooms and then being plunged into a narrow dark cave confronting death in the knowledge that Rothko killed himself, almost drowning in sorrow with Mahler as a suitable soundtrack in my mind.

Milhazes is a new name to me but Beatriz has had exhibitions in many places in the world. You can find her on YouTube explaining her various inspirations and her printing techniques. She mentions liking Bridget Riley but I also thought of the American Pattern and Decoration women artists of the 1970s.

The surfaces of her works are not slickly pristine as she allows marks made during their production to be left. Also her collage methods make motifs stand out with three dimensional vitality.

Whist the imagery remains variations on the same highly patterned decoration there are different developments as Beatriz Milhazes surprises with her inventiveness.

She speaks online of how her place of work, her home in Brazil is important to her and I am so pleased to find an exhibitor not reacting to Cornwall in a superficial way but bringing us her visions from Brazil.
Then on the way out of Tate there are the Rothko paintings from London, made in New York.

Years ago I used to walk through that room in Pimlico dismissing them until I heard a lecturer recommending visitors to give them time. I sat down then, and had to alter my opinion as the powerful fuzzy edged colours vibrated and the rectangular forms affected me. Being in a smaller space in St Ives you are closer to the pictures, hemmed in by them, and if you have time to sit down and gaze for a while you may be surprised by your reactions.

Leaving, I found myself noticing colours- contrasting rubbish bins, bright children’s windmills on sticks and also my view of the Sandra Blow and Brian Wynter paintings in the gallery, which use bright colour and pattern, had been refreshed.

Beatriz Milhazes: Maresias
until 29 September 2024
Free for Members