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The Bath

Maria Condado

Solo show

Casa A. Molder Gallery
Lisbon

 

Maria Condado (1981) is the artist featured in the sixth exhibition at the Casa A. Molder Gallery.
O Banho [The Bath] is the title of both the exhibition and the large painting that was specially conceived for the gallery space.  
About The Bath, Maria Condado wrote the following:
“Unlike the Greek myth, in which Artemis (the goddess of hunting and wildlife), while bathing with the nymphs, was surprised by the furtive gaze of hunter Acteon, the figure in the Casa A. Molder Gallery prepares for her bath in lonely peacefulness, as if she were living in a suspended time, preceding any action, or any attack. Similarly, the inside of this shop in downtown Lisbon appears to exist in suspended time, while the world outside, where all of us are hunters, changes frenetically.”
For the present exhibition, Maria Condado decided to paint a single large-format canvas, on the subject of “bathers”, or more precisely, “bather”. This classic subject of Western painting puts us in mind of Artemis, Diana, Venus or Susanna. However, it is not certain that this figure is about to bathe; it can even be said that all that surrounds her is more alive – a sort of organised confusion that marks all that lives, a whirl of ideas, landscapes, symbols or, to use the artist’s words, “an oneiric landscape, inhabited by animals, forces and abstractions” – than the blank white silhouette of the Baigneuse herself. It is also not absolutely certain that this outline is of a woman, even though we may guess it represents the artist herself.
The four elements are clearly present in the painting, even though they are not depicted in obvious or straightforward terms. It would seem that this bath is composed more of earth and air than of water.
In this canvas painted in oil and acrylic, Maria Condado offers us several “ways” of painting and drawing. This form of pictorial construction, which can lead to many misinterpretations, allows us to approach The Bath from a variety of angles. Of course, the landscape is an habitual feature of this artist’s work, but here we are confronted by a human figure, surrounded by a landscape that is at once delirious and thoroughly peaceful. 
There is also an eye that comes out of the soil or the trunk of a tree – could it be Acteon? Or does it stand for us, as we observe the bather, or painter, who spreads out her world before our gaze? So, let us not be mistaken: the power of this silhouette, absorbed in the thought of an action focused on water, ends up taking in all this delirious landscape, all these symbols and all our interpretation skills. 

 

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