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Review of Cecilia Ferreira

by John Clay

These artworks by Cecilia Ferreira reveal a strong foundation in technique and an openness to exploration. The artist's command of the human form is evident both in the more literal figurative works such as "The Thinker" and in the abstract free-form works like "Rainy Day". Ferreira's command of figure does not exalt an ideal but rather portrays the real, emphasizing the physicality of being human and showing that we are made of the same stuff as the world around us—a quality which Ferreira's work shares with that of photographer Dieter Appelt. Ferreira's stated goal is a psychological exposure and exploration of humanity, and I believe that it is through an interrogation of the physical that she compels a confession of the psychological truth. The crowd in "At the Stadium" seems to emerge from hewn rocks, like an unruly Mount Rushmore. "The Freaks" is a collection of human flesh examining itself as flesh. The running veins of the I Heart You "Self Portrait" and the running tear (which again evokes veins) of the blue "Self Portrait" serve to highlight biological mechanics we normally prefer to ignore. The self portrait figure in "Scared" merges with the grit and frenzy of her surroundings. Once our physical nature is revealed, we can no longer disguise our urges as those of deity—at least not the conventional deity.

The array of works is dizzying—not just those featured on, but those on as well. The sheer breadth was troubling me, but it was hard for me to understand why. Exploration and experimentation are essential to art, and isn't this exactly what Ferreira's array of styles and media achieves? Yes, horizontally, in breadth. But art also demands vertical exploration, in height and depth. And vertical exploration requires stopping cold at one point on the horizontal plane—at one subject, technique, medium—and probing what can be achieved within those limits. This allows another dimension to open up, an axis of new possibilities. This is precisely what happens when an artist pursues a series, like Monet's obssessive haystacks or Chuck Close's lifelong resizing of face portraits from small to large. Ferreira, has in fact, done some of this vertical exploration, as any serious artist will. There are several instances of series (though not labeled as series) among the works at All I would ask of this versatile, intelligent artist is this: More series. Explore and experiment deeper into the vertical axis. Then, when your passion can be held in check no longer, run forward again.

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