I was recently invited to write a reaction to the artwork of João Dias, a visual artist based in Viseu, Portugal. I have collaborated with João a number of times in the last few years, but more importantly, we have shared together many conversations about our practices, art making in general, and the issues of the day that we wish to develop—or ignore—in our own work.
Thus, it was fitting that I present a reaction to João’s recent bodies of work, not only because I’ve both spoken with him about it on a regular basis, but as well, literally watched him in the process, and seen the development of ideas into forms, and then into expanded concepts to fuel new investigations.
Below is a sample PDF of the catalog João produced. It contains just a few images along with my short text. Enjoy!
“This is the artifact.
Painting—again within tradition—is assumed in two-dimensional space, and this too is a structure of which we are educated to “read” the language. The layers of paint and the shapes that combine there are foundational—each mark, stroke, daub is arranged, much like how the vowel and consonant come together, to form words, then sentences, perhaps then an essay…. In more contemporary terms, each painted mark is like a pixel or a bit of the string of code—raw information waiting to be compiled—and what is understood to be the basis to the full construction. Fragments pertaining to a whole, these pieces are individual, unique. With innate curiosity, we study each their particular origins, their properties and their placement with precision, always combining the fragments, until the complete picture comes into focus.
What exactly is it then that we are looking at, in the recent works of João Dias? What happens when the pixel becomes isolated to its own image-object? Do we still agree that it remains fixed to its origin, just one artifact of the implied larger structure?”