From Monteiro's MFA thesis exhibition at Otis College of Art and Design's Bolsky Gallery:
Carne Viva is the culmination of Monteiro's obsession with ideas about skin and the very tactile process of making skin. Skin evokes many metaphors. We all live in our skin and are identified, initially and perhaps primarily, by the exterior organ that encapsulates us. Skin may be thought of as superficial, but its characteristics, such as color, age, imperfections, etc., play critically important biological, cultural and societal roles. The Carne Viva series explores objectification of the skin and its psychological, feminist and political implications.
This new exhibition explores skin through painting-like objects produced by applying layers of acrylic paint without canvas or other support. The flexible, skin-like pieces are displayed using specific support systems.
The Portuguese title, Carne Viva, is impossible to translate into English without losing its complex, shaded meanings. Live flesh or raw flesh does not suffice. Carne Viva, is an expression of pain – physical pain of the bodily flesh, psychic pain of the spirit and soul – ultimate exposure and vulnerability.
I live in Carne Viva. I live in flesh, that's why I struggle to give my characters thick skin. But I cannot maintain the thick skin, and they cry, ‘for nothing.’ – Clarice Lispector
One of the principal pieces in the exhibition (image above) is a bold red color, like red meat, and off-white, like human skin or animal fat. The paint sculpture hangs from a wooden crosspiece that evokes crucifixion. The rope from which it hangs forms a triangle, evoking Christian symbolism, and is fixed by a knot commonly used for making a noose for hanging (execution). A second, matching piece is a double, a translucent shadow, a detached slice or a layer of the first piece.
The body is evoked through absence, working at a strong, emotional level. The paint sculpture is minimal, bold and elevated, hanging from the ceiling. It evokes human power and spirit, as if in flight, experiencing freedom or ecstasy – a human spirit rising. After an initial ecstatic response, the frailty and limitations of a human life occur. Carne Viva suggests inevitable agony, then death and decay of the meat.
Other pieces in the Carne Viva exhibition include:
– Layered Mask, a series of photographs in which the skin (model's skin, nylon stocking, band-aid dress) is supported by a human body
– Universo Particular, a digital print installation in which a photograph of a body part is divided into one hundred pieces, presenting the body as a landscape.
– Color and other toxins, 3 writing piece, Red, Blue and Yellow, on multiple 2 X 3,5 inches canvas.
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