OBRAS re-opened in August, although in a new normal. See the corona page for more info.
This newsletter highlights some of the residents and their projects in September. Earlier residencies are in Residents 2020.
Monica de Miranda (Portugal) had residencies at OBRAS for almost 10 years. This year she visited us in June and for a short period in August, and she intends to return in October. Her art work generally takes the form of videos incorporated in installations. Her current two focal points in her residency are violence against women and the impact that slavery still has nowadays. In her June residency she was considering whether she could use the destruction of the landscape by marble quarrying as a metaphor for violence against women. And in her August residency she did research on the history of slavery in the Alentejo in the 16th-19th century. Her artist talk was informal but impressive and made us very curious to next steps.
Osamu Giovanni Micico (Japan, currently living in Florence) came to experience landscape painting en plein air. He enjoyed it even although it was challenging due to wind, insects and variable light. It resulted in a series of oil paintings and charcoal sketches, of which he presented a selection at his artist talk (see slide show).
However, the highlight of his residency was Osamu`s discovery that in 1584 for Japanese student-priests have visited the Ducal Palace of Vila Viçosa, 30 kms from our residency. Osamu decided that this will become the subject of a new series of paintings in which he intends to combine historical and contemporary aspects of intercultural contacts. The Bragança Foundation, owner of the Ducal Palace intends to support this project. Also the Municipality of Év0ra showed interest in being involved. An exhibition is considered that will show paintings by Osamu in combination with historical artifacts. The intention is to make it a traveling exhibition starting in Portugal in 2023 and continuing in 2024 in Italy and Japan. More info will follow.
Elly Heisse (Canada) came to prepare an installation for her next exhibition. She made photos and drawings and designed a set up. Elly tries to visualize blurring borders between the human body and nature. She made, for instance, small drawings of creatures that are partly tree and partly human limps. Another fascination is to play with dimensions and sizes. She combined landscape photos with the blood veins network of the retina of her own eyes. And she was deeply impressed by the inhuman dimensions of abandoned marble quarries.
Mia Bailey (Australia, currently living in Germany) came to work on her second artist book and began a third one. For the last few years, she has been investigating ways to combine her long-term practice as a professional visual artist with her writing, moving away from video work to a combination of image and text. An overall theme in her art is the experience of looking and seeing: what of the world that surrounds us do we know? To what extent are we trapped in our culture and conventions?
At OBRAS, she completed her second artists' book, based on images from dreams that she had during the time of the residency. Working with simple materials (paper, foam board and found objects) and taking photos with a mobile phone, she produced images that evoked the colour, texture, and symbolic patterning of dreams, rather than being directly illustrative. In her artists' talk, she spoke about experimenting with different ways of integrating narrative and fiction in her new body of work.