March 3 – April 2, 2011
James Harris Gallery is pleased to present the fourth solo exhibition by Brazilian artist Efrain Almeida. Using cedar and umburana woods, he hand-carves sculptures rooted in the traditional folk objects made by craftsmen in Northeastern Brazil. Almeida is interested in exploring form as a psychological symbol. The artist’s iconography and materials suggest an underlying theme of fragility of the body on its journey through life. The sculptures lyrically explore issues of sexuality, religion, nature, humanity and personal identity. All his works are in a sense a self-portrait that transcends from a personal experience to a universal one.
The exhibition titled The Dreamer, comprises pieces based on the artist´s self-portrait: five hand carved wooden sculptures and a watercolor. Fragmented images (eyes, a pair of eyeglasses, a nest, a small scale self-portrait figure and a disembodied head) inhabit the show. Almeida draws our attention to the poetic and visual potentialities of the dreams.The artist always takes into consideration the architectural space of the gallery and the placement of each artwork;, their location and the empty space between, heightens the dialogue among the works. Whether it is a framed watercolor hanging on the wall or the intimate sculptures displayed on oversized wooden pedestals, together the works create a narrative. This purposeful shift of scale creates tension and unifies Almeida’s art work into world of dreams.
His installation investigates ideas of private and public; the limits between an individual and the social environment in which that individual is inscribed. The tiny dimension of the pieces induces the viewer´s proximity and intimacy. They are a mixture of images from different sources and memory, tradition, contemporaneity that interact, producing change and hybridization.
An installation of Efrain Almeida’s work was included in the 29th São Paulo Biennial in 2010. The Museum of Modern Art recently acquired a major installation of his work.