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Mafalda FigueiredoMafalda Figueiredo

Mafalda Figueiredo

Hold still, look out

 

March 20 - June 1, 2020

 

 

Hold still, look out

 

Portuguese artist Mafalda Figueiredo's art engages with notions of observance, constructing narratives that seem alarmingly direct: figures stare out of the canvas in what seems to be a straightforward confrontation of the viewer. "As a woman, I've felt watched since I can remember", she admits. "Being watched, particularly by the male gaze, is something I've always reflected upon". Yet this observance is not interpreted solely as negative, and Figueiredo's characters simultaneously reject and accept this gaze peacefully.

From this questioning of the positive and negative aspects of both watching and being watched, Figueiredo started creating images that reflect a single moment, almost a cinematographic moment. In these moments, real people, who are mindfully focused on something or someone, are suddenly interrupted by the scrutiny of the spectator, so they look out of the paintings, seeking confrontation.

When painting, Figueiredo imagines the observer as the characters themselves: "as it happens when I realize I'm dreaming and find myself looking out of the dream and turning from the object of observation into the observer, as if my consciousness shifted from one to the other, traveling back and forth from inside the dream to outside it ".
The figures in the paintings, mostly women, stand empowered by their intensity but also their soothing coolness. They stare at their observer as if telling a story about the world that cannot be verbalized.

 

Hold still, look out is the artist's first US solo exhibition. "The title Hold still, look out narrates the reaction of the imaginary characters of my stories as they are interrupted in their moment and look out of the scene, or out of the dream".

 

Figueiredo started the eight paintings included in this exhibition mid-2019 in Berlin, and finished them at her studio in London, where she's presently based.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Mafalda Figueiredo "House Carrier"Mafalda Figueiredo "House Carrier"

Mafalda Figueiredo

House Carrier

2019

 

oil on canvas

 

approx. 40 by 32 in.

(ca. 101,5 by 81 cm)

 

 

 

 

Mafalda Figueiredo "Night wispers"Mafalda Figueiredo "Night wispers"

Mafalda Figueiredo

Night wispers

2019

 

oil on canvas

 

approx. 48 by 60 in.

(ca. 122 by 152,5 cm)

 

 

 

 

Mafalda Figueiredo "Thinking about water"Mafalda Figueiredo "Thinking about water"

Mafalda Figueiredo

Thinking about water

2019

 

oil on canvas

 

approx. 48 by 36 in.

(ca. 122,5 by 91,5 cm)

 

 

 

 

Mafalda Figueiredo Black hole"Mafalda Figueiredo Black hole"

Mafalda Figueiredo

Black Hole

2019

 

oil on canvas

 

approx. 49.3 by 31.5 in.

(ca. 100 by 80 cm)

 

 

 

 

Mafalda Figueiredo "Inside/outside dreamland"Mafalda Figueiredo "Inside/outside dreamland"

Mafalda Figueiredo

Inside / outside dreamland

2019

 

oil on canvas

 

approx. 53 by 45.25 in.

(ca. 135 by 115 cm)

 

 

 

 

Mafalda Figueiredo "Flightless bird"Mafalda Figueiredo "Flightless bird"

Mafalda Figueiredo

Flightless bird

2019

 

oil on canvas

 

approx. 75 by 47 in.

(ca. 190 by 120 cm)

 

Susan and Michael Hort collection, New York

 

 

 

 

Mafalda Figueiredo "Transplant the plant"Mafalda Figueiredo "Transplant the plant"

Mafalda Figueiredo

Transplant the plant

2019

 

oil on canvas

 

approx. 41.3 by 33.5 in.

(ca. 105 by 85 cm)

 

 

 

 

Mafalda Figueiredo "Letting go"Mafalda Figueiredo "Letting go"

Mafalda Figueiredo

Letting go

2019

 

oil on canvas

 

approx. 48 by 36 in.

(ca. 122,5 by 91,5 cm)

 

Susan and Michael Hort collection, New York

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mafalda Figueiredo (born 1991 in Lisbon, Portugal, studied at the University of Fine Arts in Lisbon. She currently lives and works in London.
 
 
 
If one were looking for a synonym for subtlety, simplicity would not be the first term that might spring to mind. In fact, some might regard this as an error. Yet at their core, both speak of refinement, and this is precisely what Mafalda Figueiredo’s works are about. “You must have been looking at another artist’s work,” you may be thinking, because at first glance Figueiredo constructs narratives that seem alarmingly direct: figures stare out of the canvas, or off the page in this case, in what seems to be a straightforward confrontation of the viewer. Yet again the painted subject is being observed, and yet again the viewer controls the gaze.

But Figueiredo’s works are far more layered, and far more meaningful. Part of the beauty of her works stems from the fact that she always begins from within—not in the sense of some conceptual obligation, but from a legitimate attempt to depict herself as the subject in a constantly reoccurring act of self-portraiture. We are literally seeing the artist represent herself again and again: in her paintings, we have seen her at a dinner table; playing marbles (although crouching like a tiger ready to strike); laying on a bed of flowers; and engaging in what seem to be mundane, everyday tasks.

Her works on paper shift in scale, and show an unexpected restraint, with unpainted borders (much like irises or vignettes) visually framing some images. While her large, raw canvases devour you, bringing you into her dream world, these new works on paper are more intimate, and more conversational. Each creates a quiet dialogue with each viewer, rather than a charged journey through a sleep- and dream-driven world of fantasy and fate. And here, Figueiredo reveals the subtlety and simplicity that emerges and is literally evident within every vision and every frame.
 
 
 
 

 

 

 

 

Mafalda Figueiredo "Dreamforest", 2018Mafalda Figueiredo "Dreamforest", 2018

Mafalda Figueiredo

Dreamforest

2018

 

oil on canvas

 

ca. 200 by 160 cm

(approx 78.75 by 63 in.)

 

 

 

 

Mafalda Figueiredo "Contemplation interrupted", 2018Mafalda Figueiredo "Contemplation interrupted", 2018

Mafalda Figueiredo

Contemplation interrupted

2018

 

oil on canvas

 

ca. 200 by 160 cm

(approx 78.75 by 63 in.)

 

 

 

 

Mafalda Figueiredo "Frogs and deer and potatoes"Mafalda Figueiredo "Frogs and deer and potatoes"

Mafalda Figueiredo

Frogs and deer and potatoes

2018

 

oil on canvas

 

ca. 200 by 160 cm

(approx 78.75 by 63 in.)

 

Sadighpur collection, Berlin, Germany

 

 

 

 

Mafalda Figueiredo "Suddenly I can't breathe"Mafalda Figueiredo "Suddenly I can't breathe"

Mafalda Figueiredo

Suddenly I can't breathe

2018

 

oil on canvas

 

approx. 70.9 by 59 in.

(ca. 180 by 150 cm)

 

Susan and Michael Hort collection, New York

 

 

 

 

Mafalda Figueiredo "Clash of the Titans", 2018Mafalda Figueiredo "Clash of the Titans", 2018

Mafalda Figueiredo

Clash of the Titans

2018

 

oil on canvas

 

ca. 200 by 160 cm

(approx 78.75 by 63 in.)

 

 

 

 

Mafalda Figueiredo "Two-faced", 2018Mafalda Figueiredo "Two-faced", 2018

Mafalda Figueiredo

Two-faced

2018

 

oil on canvas

 

ca. 100 by 80 cm

(approx 39.3 by 31.5 in.)

 

 

 

 

Mafalda Figueiredo "Shades of Anxiety", 2018Mafalda Figueiredo "Shades of Anxiety", 2018

Mafalda Figueiredo

Shades of anxiety

2018

 

oil on canvas

 

ca. 120 by 100 cm

(approx 47.25 by 39.3 in.)

 

 

 

 

Mafalda Figueiredo "Monologue", 2018Mafalda Figueiredo "Monologue", 2018

Mafalda Figueiredo

Monologue

2018

 

oil on canvas

 

ca. 200 by 160 cm

(approx 78.75 by 63 in.)

 

 

 

Mafalda Figueiredo "Walking the dogs"Mafalda Figueiredo "Walking the dogs"

Mafalda Figueiredo

Walking the dogs

2017

 

oil on canvas

 

ca. 150 by 125 cm

(approx 59 by 49.2 in.)

 

Susan and Michael Hort collection, New York

 

 

 

 

Mafalda Figueiredo "Hair eating gods", 2017Mafalda Figueiredo "Hair eating gods", 2017

Mafalda Figueiredo

Hair eating gods

2017

 

oil on canvas

 

ca. 150 by 125 cm

(approx 59 by 49.2 in.)

 

 

 

 

Mafalda Figueiredo "Creeps", 2017Mafalda Figueiredo "Creeps", 2017

Mafalda Figueiredo

Creeps

2017

 

oil on canvas

 

ca. 125 by 150 cm

(approx 49.2 by 59 in.)

 

 

 

 

Mafalda Figueiredo "Resting bitchface in the forest"Mafalda Figueiredo "Resting bitchface in the forest"

Mafalda Figueiredo

Resting bitchface in the forest

2017

 

oil on canvas

 

ca. 115 by 165 cm

(approx 45.25 by 65 in.)

 

private collection, Munich, Germany

 

 

 

 

Mafalda Figueiredo "I'm reading a fucking book", 2017Mafalda Figueiredo "I'm reading a fucking book", 2017

Mafalda Figueiredo

I'm reading a fucking book

2017

 

oil on canvas

 

ca. 100 by 80 cm

(approx 39.3 by 31.5 in.)

 

 

 

 

Mafalda Figueiredo "Dog person", 2017Mafalda Figueiredo "Dog person", 2017

Mafalda Figueiredo

Dog person

2017

 

oil on canvas

 

ca. 70 by 50 cm

(approx 27.5 by 19.7 in.)