Marcia Thompson

Desalinhos: Marcia Thompson

...Eu mesmo mentindo devo argumentar
Que isso ť bossa nova que isso ť muito natural...

The lyrics of Jo„o Gilberto Desafinado set out to praise the value of a melody sung out of tune, from the heart, as if in its misalignment the music would enter into a new sonic territory made of natural dissonances. In her latest show Desalinho, the most recent work by London-based artist Marcia Thompson articulates a similar move towards a different order of the visual field, where the tone is found outside the norm. Supported by a process of thought that links the hand with an almost Zen concept of void, she makes an art where white reigns over all sorts of artifice and materials behave in unprecedented ways. For a number of years, Marcia's choice of white has been a trademark of her works in a variety of mediums: from paper to silicon and oil paint volumes, from painting frames to lacework, in which an unorthodox interaction of materials produces unexpected visual and textural effects.

In one of the most important theoretical documents of abstract art The Non-Objective World, Kasimir Malevich wrote: 'In the year 1913, trying desperately to free art from the dead weight of the real world, I took refuge in the form of the square'. Malevich interest in theosophy prompted him towards a quest of the spirit, of what he called 'a non-objective sensation and infinity'. In a similar manner, Marcia's works seem to aspire to recreate a sense of infinity with the simple gestures of her hand-crafted objects and the choice of the empty square - the frame - as a container of her imagination.

In her series of works on paper, the repetition of lines and dots could be seen to draw from minimalism and conceptualism, but somehow pervert such referents in introducing a kind of codification that allows the emergence of individual notes among a multitude of similar marks. Born out of patterns of thought or perhaps, meditative exercises, the drawings evolve in sequence from uniform reiteration into subjective representation but without referencing the world outside, and rather echoing some internal moments of enlightenment. In this vein, the employment of a music score as support and the introduction of gold paint in her Untitled from 2005, produce an emotional notation like the luminosity of an abyss from whose edge we could immerse ourselves in the golden sound of a coral reef.

Nature is addressed laterally in her intervened photograph - Untitled, 2010 - where we see a forest through the interstices of a fence drawn on its surface with silver pen: the natural world becomes thus filtered by the veil of subjective perception.

In the gallery ceiling tiny canopies of lace offer shelter to our eyes, restoring the labour of amorous women's hands to the construction of abstracts artworks. In the wall-based pieces, the painting surface is turned into stalactite-like topography made of sculpted silicon emerging from the lace, while in another piece, oil paint invades the frame evoking white molluscs attaching themselves to rocks on the beach.

Desalinhos is a space of monochrome volumes and lines that sing a soft melody of unique resonances, as in Cagean composition. A white flora and fauna suspended in the humid light of the tropics.

© Gabriela Salgado

Independent curator and writer

London, 2011