SAO PAULO.- Nara Roesler
announced the representation of Thiago Barbalho (Natal, Brazil, 1984). Having been based in São Paulo for over a decade, Barbalho has stood out from within the contemporary scene for his large drawings that weave intricate visual universes filled with figures from cartoons, book illustrations, artifacts from popular Northeastern culture, and also references from contemporary culture such as brand logos and product packaging, which take up the entire length of the paper in vibrant colors.
Barbalho's work is marked by an abundance of shapes and materials, including graphite, colored pencils, ballpoint pen, permanent marker and acrylic, oil and pastel paints. The interest in the plurality of shapes and textures began with the artist's experiments with paint brush software. The possibility of getting closer or further away from the image, with the zoom in and zoom out tools, paved the way for the artist to zero in on the details, making his drawings more and more complex. These incredibly detailed works include many of the elements that are present today in his works on paper. In fact, this is one of the fundamental characteristics of Barbalho's work, the variety of images and also of materials, colors and textures.
In 2017, during a residency at Pivô Arte e Pesquisa, in São Paulo, the artist began to investigate visual language in greater depth, exploring its possibilities for expression. Until that moment, Barbalho had focused on literary production, publishing books of poems and short stories such as Thiago Barbalho vai para o fundo do poço (2012), Doritos (2013) and more recently, Um homem bom (2017). For the artist, drawing and writing are, in a way, complementary, as they both begin with a simple gesture.
I got to know Barbalhos work in 2021, during the collective exhibition Electric Dreams at Nara Roesler Rio de Janeiro, curated by Raphael Fonseca. I was enchanted by the visual power of his works, says gallery founder, Nara Roesler. We hope to work towards greater national and international recognition of Thiagos art, to properly showcase its relevance and originality.
With works in collections such as the Pinacoteca do Estado de São Paulo, Barbalho participated in the publication Vitamin D3: todays best in contemporary drawing (2021), a compendium edited by the publisher Phaidon that brings together contemporary artists worldwide, who have worked to expand the possibilities of the drawing. In 2018, he participated in the exhibition Rocambole, at Pivô (2018), in São Paulo and at Kunsthalle Lissabon (2019) in Lisbon.
As this new partnership begins, Nara Roesler will focus on the artist's representation to provide a broad approach to his practice and an in-depth view of his work, in order to boost its appreciation. With this goal in mind, the gallery will organize Barbalho's first solo exhibition in Rio de Janeiro in the second half of 2022, to be curated by Raphael Fonseca.