Gallery Owners and Art Dealers

Gallery Owners and Art Dealers


In April 1977, the directeur of the Israel Galerie Linka, located at the Prinsengracht, 960, in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, after having analyzed my portfolio, got in touch with me, proposing a visit to my studio, also located in the Dutch capital, to see the original artworks and to evaluate their quality. I accepted the suggestion. At that time, I was preparing my exhibition at the Galerie Entremonde, in Paris, in February 1978. This visit took place after a few days, with the gallery director paying close attention to some paintings ready for the show in Paris. After a positive evaluation, a proposal was made to hold a solo Show in his Gallery. The following conditions were proposed to me: a catalogue would be made, a vernissage, the presence of many guests, the sale of artworks was guaranteed, and the respective percentage was established, 40%. Everything was compliant, so far. But the last requirement ended up surprising me: the advanced payment to the gallery of 10.000 guilders (currency in that time) about 8.000$, in order to support the costs. Promptly, I did not accept such demand. I considered that the percentage of 40% on the sales would serve to support such expenses.
When faced with the intention to obtain an immediate financial profit, I declined, frontally, the invitation, after showing my indignation, without any reticence or reservation.
At that time, it was very important to cement my artistic career, having the opportunity to show my artworks in a prestigious gallery in Amsterdam. I was aware of that. I, also, knew that the sale of some or all artworks could support the advanced payment purposed.
However, my disapproval and the consequent refusal launched the seed which gave, some years later, birth to a very personal view transformed in a very negative opinion about these galleries and the art dealers: the distrust and the discredit.
I declare that, in spite of this unpleasant experience, I have, in the following years, realized, with some success, some exhibitions in other galleries. This exhibition spaces, in spite of not having much power in the art market and not practicing the culture of immediate profit, they cultivate the ethos and the pathos in the personal relationship and the competence in curating art exhibitions. However, that controversial proposal made by the Israel Galerie Linka, in Amsterdam, persisted in my mind and increased my depreciation for those kind of gallery owners and art dealers, and diminished, at the same time, my intention in showing my artworks in their spaces.
Not intending to generalize, this essay will be, only, related to the gallery owner who thinks that behind a great artist is always a gallerist, claiming that was himself who made the artist and that he is the ultimate talent finder, parading vainglory, prosapia and presumption. Jean Clair,1 wrote: “… the absence of culture and taste of most of the directors of the institutions (museum directors, gallerists, curators…), are accommodated to a situation where the artwork is reduced to nothing more than the derisory foam of the art."
The artist, the one who creates his artworks, moved by a legitimate desire and enthusiasm to show them to a wide audience, is relegated to a second plane, before the haughtiness of the gallerist and his false gesture of patronage. His gallery, the rooms where he receives the public and the walls where the artworks are displayed constitute his sacrosanct and venerable tabernacle where the artist must kneel on the genuflexorium, reclining himself and thanking for the privilege to exhibit there. These presumptuous art dealers alert, constantly, the artist to the relevant role that their galleries play in their career and how important they are in their success so that I may understand the minimization of the artist himself and the underestimation for his competence and creative capacity. As referred by Rui Pedro Fonseca:2 “The artist can never harass who advertises or consecrates him: it is important for him to know how to play with their own limits of freedom defined by the agents and by the institutions.”
These galerists, art dealers, fellow thinkers and their “coreligionists” make part of a complex market system (mercantilism) with the purpose to guide, control and regulate the artist and, doing so, they end up preventing him from expressing freely. Moreover, if he doesn’t have the pressure of the gallerist and the intention to please the market, the artist, in the solitude of his studio, provided with the academic training and the technical capacity he obtained, is able to create, on a bare canvas, from a block of rough stone or other materials, an artwork characterized by his signature, originality and uniqueness. Again, Rui Pedro Fonseca3: “The need for total survival within the art market, influences the artist to produce his artworks in a way to respect certain moral and aesthetic standards, transforming himself, involuntary or unconsciously, in the servant of his buyers and protectors, whose high position can never be restraint.”
Never, something sublime, was created without passion, freedom and independence.
With some difficulty, I can understand the convenience and the comfort that an artist feels when working under the protection (mostly make-believe) and the promises of his gallery owner (mostly uncertain). I, profoundly, believe that, today, no artist would like to be a Vincent van Gogh (of his time, Arles and Saint Remy). Since the eagerness for an immediate recognition (without having produced a significant oeuvre) and the anxious longing for fame and money became the main motivation to enter the studio, the artist, subjugated to the rules of the art market, imposed to him by his art dealer, became a deceit and lost its authenticity.
In the essay “It’s urgent to autopsy the moribund art bladder4, I wrote: “It is not the work of art that makes the artist, but a complex art market and its connections which turn him into an object manufacturer, obeying to a gallery owner, to an authority or to an imposed system. This system is capable to make some “installer,” rich and famous, in this faked “art scene,” but is unable to make him an Artist.”
According to Jean Clair, the distinguished member of the Academie Française, the philistinism and the intellectual mediocrity of many galerists, curators and directors of art institutions, it’s a fact, being also included in this acid statement some critics and other makers of easy art chronicles whose writings, most of the time, praise the first ones.
Other critics, seeming more independent and more analytical, nevertheless, they walk hand in hand in the same parade, seeming to underline that the artistic scene is rather incomprehensible to all but them, practicing the group self-laudation. Pathetically, only they know that only they get the picture. However, there are some who, using a different pen, they encourage me to mention and to honor them, here: The North Americans Clement Greenberg, David Hickey and Jerry Saltz, the Frenchman Jean Clair, the British John Berger and Julian Spalding and the Portuguese Fernando Pernes e José Luis Ferreira.
Not wanting to leave the essence of this essay, I return to my very personal view about gallery owners and art dealers as I declared, above, being a view of mistrust and discredit. This my opinion is supported by some experiences of professional content (exhibitions) and others of commercial and contractual matter (mercantilism). From these experiences, it remained a feeling of suspicion and disapproval, as I also mentioned, above.
My exhibition at the Galerie Entremonde, in Paris 1978, although the reasonable success, gave me the first signs of resignation and, in terms of relationship and mercantilism, confirmed my perceived disbelief that I experienced, some months before, in the Israel Galerie Linka, in Amsterdam. During the following years, my artworks were exhibited in several public places and in some private non-profit institutions. However, my ultimate divorce from this deplorable world of ganancious galerists, art dealers and established art market, happened in the year 2000, after my exhibition “Outlines” at the Gallery 66, in Amsterdam. That Gallery would close, a few years later, according to rumors of illicit activities perpetrated by its director.

In the strict sense of culture, erudition, knowledge and education, is it the physical existence of an art gallery important, except for an elite and the bystanders? It’s not important. In this context, is it an art museum more important? It is much more important. What is the main purpose of a commercial art gallery? It will be selling artworks and acquiring financial benefits, from it. Nothing wrong. To do so, the gallerist will need artists, some of them invited, some with works on consignment and others with a written contractual agreement, considered, most of the times, very complex and of a dubious fulfillment. I emphasize and underline that, usually, the gallerist does not have the technical or creative capacity to produce an artwork. Are the (conventional) art galleries dispensable? Generally, they are not. Considering them indispensable, they, only, will be convenient if they have access to the artworks and to the artists who produce them. Accordingly, this need will create a relationship between the gallerist, the artist or/and his agent, being, often, this requirement the source of critical and censurable conduct.
The prestigious gallery owners, art dealers, curators, together with the collectors and the established art market and accompanied by the adulation of the makers of artistic “chronicles,” place themselves on the altar of veneration or seat around the table of self-praise, attributing to themselves  the merit of finding “great” talents or the discovering of brilliant emerging ones that, once used, they let them to immerse in the deepest ocean.

There are two distinct relationships between gallery owner and artist, however, both have the same purpose: the primacy of the commercial interest with the priority of obtaining excessive financial profits (mercantilism). Cynically, some “experts” are driven, exclusively, by the art market and the financial profit. About the relationships, one is between a prestigious gallery owner | artist A and the other between a prestigious gallery owner | artist B. This bipartition, considering the art market, defines that the chosen artist will be more highly rated (commercial) than the other. These prestigious gallery owners, often the philistines in the culture world, with tight connections to the speculative market, and rarely skilled with the aptitude and criteria to appreciate an artwork, decides to value the piece created by the artist A, eventually, moved by a personal relationship, benevolence or empathy. This artist A, eventually, less talented and less skilled than the artist B will enter, with the dubious seal of the gallerist, more easily, in the artistic commercial circuit of collectors and in the established sinister system that will favor him at the moment of selection for participation in prestigious biennials, in the acquisition of his works by the Ministry of Culture and, last but not least, the attribution of projects for carrying out works in urban spaces. Regarding this my last appreciation, I bring here two fiascos payed with public money (taxpayers): the tremendous failure of the “Trafaria Praia” by Joana Vasconcelos and the Linha do Mar by Cabrita Reis, severely criticized and rejected by the local population and nothing praised by most of the artistic world.
Nowadays, prestigious museums and galleries, rarely, seek works created by the artist who, isolated in his studio, try to accomplish that idea or that vision that came to him and, in a physical and intellectual struggle, he hopes that a serious and worthy artwork will be born. When pronouncing this statement, I want, firmly, to proclaim that I am neither anachronistic nor misoneist, rather I denounce the lack of taste and the philistinism of those responsible for these exhibition spaces (gallery owners, curators, museum artistic directeur) when they give preference to the ephemerality of indigent works or to any gigantic object manufactured, in any industrial space, by carpenters, blacksmiths and embroiderers that, often, they only call the attention because of its great size and not for being innovative.
The private and commercial art gallery, as an architectural space that shows and sells art have, almost, two centuries of existence. At that time, they were directed by marchlands d’art, true connoisseurs, erudites and experts in fine arts, something that, rarely, happens today. I underline as relevant, in those times, the Goupil&Cie,5 founded by Adolphe Goupil and where worked Theodorus van Gogh (Vincent van Gogh’s brother), the Galerie Vollard6 de Ambroise Vollard who make known works of Paul Cezanne, Paul Gauguin and Henri Matisse and Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler7, prominent gallery owner, in Paris, and  who presented artists as Pablo Picasso and George Braque and the cubist art movement.
We are far from those times. But if the art gallery continues to be an architectural space where art is shown and commercialized, and painting is still influenced by the works of Pablo Picasso and Henri Matisse, most gallery owners today are, unfortunately, no longer the brilliant art connoisseurs.
I declared, at the beginning of this essay, my depreciation for certain galleries owners and the consequent lack of interest in holding exhibitions in their spaces. Where do I show my works, then? Having realized more than one hundred solo exhibitions, most of them took place, following my own preference, in galleries of Municipal Museums, Cultural Houses, Cultural Centers and several Galleries of Private non-profit Institutions.
I’m a nonaligned, I don’t vassalize the art market and I despise the current merchandise, mainly the indolent and the vain conceptual, the ephemeral easy and aleatory installations, the industrial manufactoring of objects of gigantic dimensions, commissioned by museum art directors, curators and gallerists, in times of disorientation and alienation in the art world.

Pintomeira | 2020

1 - member of the Academie Française, reputed art historian, art critic and essayist
2 - ISCTE - University Institute of Lisbon (ISCTE-IUL), Sociology | “Entre o artista o patronato e a obra”
3 - ISCTE - University Institute of Lisbon (ISCTE-IUL), Sociology | “Entre o artista o patronato e a obra”
4 - Autopsying the moribund art bladder, 2018, essay by Pintomeira

7 -

It's urgent to autopsy the moribund art bladder
It's urgent to autopsy the moribund art bladder


In a little text which can be read in the catalogue made for one of my exhibitions, in 1975, I wrote:  "I stand up against the mechanical-lazy expression, against the heavy sleepiness and the lack of creativity in the art world in my generation. Half a century after the surrealist revolution it is urgent to autopsy the moribund art bladder”. At that time, Amsterdam 1978, I was at the end of my late surrealist period I started in Lisbon in 1970. However, observing the image above, an instalation in the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art1,  this statment seem to me, now, in 2018, more pertinent and incisive than then.
Some galleries and  prestigious museums have been presenting to the public, in the last decades, by the hand of their overzealous and vanglorious curators, and following the implementation of pretentious criteria, a deceiving art form, drifting away from its aesthetic values, losing its seriousness, beyond the fact of proving an enormous creativity emptiness. Works like: the video art of any kind, the tourism and anniversary party photographs, the arbitrary and large bricolage-installations, the fortuitous accumulation of debris and trash, the ready-mades of the ready-mades, the embroidery, the casual and aleatory transformations, confiscated, in the last decades, the most museums and galleries exhibiting spaces.
Most of the visitors who come to these exhibition grounds are looking like ghost spectators, roaming around as somnambulists, not having any interaction with those frugal, illusory and unsubstantial displayed pieces and wondered if themselves could also be able to pile up all that material or even if they could do better.
Here, the viewer has the perception that he is not seeing art but pieces-products, invading and occupying the floor where he is walking, alongside all that trash. He looks, vaguely and with nostalgia, to the walls in front of which he used to stop, by moments, watching to paintings, drawings, sculptures and experiencing emotions. Nowadays, he discovers these walls, sadly empty and coldly white. In this new time of contemporary art, the painting and the  sculpture, lost their space. Recently, the artist David Hockney2 said in an interview: “…the art world ignores figurative art: paintings, sculptures that aim to represent the known world. …the power is with images, and in neglecting them the art world has diminished the very thing it aimed to protect: art.”
A process of deconstruction of the art’s concept was established. Art was pushed over its border’s limits, wherever they are.
It is not the work of art that makes the artist, but a complex art market and its connections which turn him into an object manufacturer, obeying to a gallery owner, to an authority or to an imposed system. This system is capable to make some “installer”, rich and famous, in this faked “art scene,” but is unable to make him an Artist”
The Britsh critic, Julian Spalding3, wrote: “Damien Hirst isn’t an artist. His works…have no artistic content and are worthless as works of art… I’ve coined the term Con Art, short for contemporary conceptual art and for art that cons people. Contemporary conceptual art? All art is a concept in the sense that it’s the product of thought.”…” But all art must also be a creation…Michelangelo was an artist and Damien Hirst isn’t. Michelangelo’s extremely subtle, profoundly moving ideas were manifest in what he made; they weren’t pretentious profanities tossed off the top of his head.”
The Conceptualism (1965-1975) open the door and paved the way for the Contemporary. Although, the conceptual art had had a long gestation of half a century in the uterus of Marcel Duchamp4 ready-mades (1917), that was  enough to give birth to nothing but concepts, writings and some intellectual statments. One of their mentors, Joseph Kosuth5, affirmed that the simple proclamation of an artistic idea would fulfil the required to consider it a work of art, confirming his notion of the idea-based-art. In his more fundamentalist point of vue, Lawrence Weiner6 stated that the artist should renounce the practice of creating physical works of art, disregarding the aesthetics, the plasticity, the expression, the unicity, and even the skills, adding this pathetic statement: “the work of art does not, necessarily, have to be done.
All these manifestations of deceiving "non-art," or “… amusement-arcade culture” as Julian Spalding said, has been shown in the public spaces, due to the interests of the speculative art market,  the presumption of the museum curators, the snobbery of the gallerists and the acceptance of the collectors.
Jean Clair6, member of the Academie Française, wrote: " It's a fact that the intellectual mediocrity of the western art circles, the philistinism of the criticism, the lack of culture and taste of most of the directors of the institutions, are accommodated to a situation where the art work is reduced to nothing more than the derisory foam of the art."
The speculative art market became the artist’s regulator, castrating and relegating him to a position of tutelage and subordination.
The artwork became trivialized and lost its aura and singularity. The  art concept, whatever it is, disappears in the middle of all this paraphernalia of “things” and, most of the time, there is no any relation between the artwork and its artist.  Art was left out the museum door and "culture" amusement-industry was, shamefully and discreditably, let in.
The spectator seems lost, in those exhibition spaces, not finding any emotional connection to what he is observing.
The Britsh enfant terrible of art criticism, David Hickey7, wrote once: “I’m really never looking at a piece of art. Usually I’m walking through a gallery or a museum and I walk until something stops me. And if it stops me I look at it. I like that kind of BANG. I look at it and I relate it to what I have seen.” In the last years, many museum and gallery visitors can expression the same feeling and they will have a real difficulty to find “that kind of BANG”. In the last years, many museum and gallery visitors can expression the same feeling and they will also have a real difficulty to find “that kind of BANG”.
The “installer” abandoned the imperative artwork’s authenticity, and became a smart and lazy manipulator, fabricating the ephemeral, exploring the ridicule, cynicism and the deceit, and at the end, is he himself who also ceases to be authentic.
In exercising this disapproval and criticism on this chapter of the contemporary art, I want to declare, firmly, that I am, not at all, a misoneist. On the contrary, I always welcomed the innovation and I always felt stimulated when I got in touch with the first avant-guardes and became very enthusiastic when I witnessed the last ones: from Giotto (1267)  and the introduction of the perspective on painting, until the mannerism of Parmigianino (1503), Jacopo da Pontormo (1494) and Rosso Fiorentino (1495); from Engène Delacroix (1798), William Turner (1775), John Constable (1775) and the romanticism; Claude Monet (1840), Pierre-Auguste Renoir (1841), Alfred Sisley (1839) and the impressionism; Pablo Picasso (1881), George Braque (1882), Juan Gris (1887) and their cubism until Max Ernest (1891), René Magritte (1898), Salvador Dali (1904) and the surrealism. Finally, from Andy Wharol (1928), Peter Blake (1932) e David Hockney (1937) with the  pop art;  Georg Baselitz (1938), Anselm Kiefer (1945) and Jorg Immendorff (1945) and the neo-expressionism until the street art with Keith Haring (1958), Banksy (1975) and Tavar Zawacki (1981).
In this essay, I am driven, not only, by my own evaluation or critical analysis on a specific part of the contemporary art, but I also take into consideration the strong echoes of negative appreciation produced by many museum visitors. They, strongly, react against the precariousness and the inconsistency of the "installed" work  and the skepticism and dissimulation of the artist’s intent.
One more time, Julian Spalding said: “…contemporary art that rejoices in being incomprehensible to all but a few insiders, … and of works that “appeal to a self-congratulatory in-group. …and artists who create “rarefied delights, shams, glittering ornaments of an amusement-arcade culture.”
Art has always been contemporary and, as it is modern today, it will be modern tomorrow. The
Contemporary bears the Modernism within itself.
Art historians decided to implement a new era, a new time in the history of art, changing the denomination modern art by contemporary art. They proclaimed that the new one was, simply, a concept, an idea a set of words or images, sustained, in practice, by piles of installations-bricolage, aleatory constructions, trash-lux stuff and some ephemera as happenings, performance, body and earth art. After organizing boring lectures, writing voluminous books and long essays about it, they end up with one hand full of thesis, theories and words and the other one empty, where the art is missing.
Catherine Millet8, wrote in her book, L’Art Contemporain: "In the future, historians will, probably,identify contemporary art with the period of the late 20th century;however, they will have difficulty in classifying it as a style, as Rococo characterizes the first half of the 18th  century.”
After the 1960s, when artists began to use the new media and the new technologies, video, digital art, bricolage, neon’s and kitsch, they didn’t claim the death of modernism and never questioned if modern art was in a turning point giving way to contemporary art. They simply sought new concepts, new forms, new aesthetics and new plasticity to create new artworks as did many other artists since the begining of the 20th century, giving birth to various manifestos, movements and styles.
The so called contemporary art (art of our time), beyond having diverse birth certificates, was baptized, also, with different names and surnames. For some historians, contemporary art was born during the 1950s, therefore, called post-war art. For others, it emerged during the decades (60-70), known as a period of great social and cultural changes, of protest, counterculture, anti-establishment and adopted the name post-modern art. Finally, other historians indicate the 1980s, when political and social conservatism came back and brought with it the speculative market,  being then rebaptized  as contemporary art. All this mishmash of different opinions, reflecting an undeniable lack of consensus, seems to us like a big farce. Accepting as acquired that one could establish global valid parameters, a consensus would be strongly inconsistent and controversial.
Etymologically speaking, contemporary comes from Latin, contemporaneus, composed of the prefix cum (with), of the substantive tempus / temporis (time) and the suffix aneus (belonging, related to), meaning something of our time, the time in which we live. For this reason, it is legitimate to ask:  is it comprehensible that Picasso’s artwork, “Les Demoiselles d’Avignon”, produced in 1907 could be considered contemporary art by whom lived at that time?
Interpreting all these reflections and considerations, as arbitrary and random, one might conclude that historians, tired of the old denomination, wanted, in an eager and impulsive way, to classify a new paradigm or a new time of artistic creation, once they assumed this one, the contemporary art time,  different from the other, the modern art time. Too easy, then.
However, and even more manifest,  considering, here, only  the fine art painting,  Fauvism  (1905), Die Bruke (1907), Cubism (1907), Futurism (1909), Abstractionism (1910), Der Blaue Reiter (1911), the Suprematism (1913),  Dadaism (1916),  Surrealism (1924), movements that emerged before the world war II,  are barely different, as far as aesthetical and plastic expression, from the movements emerged during post world war II, having those, most of the times, influenced these: Arte Bruta (1945), CoBrA Group (1948),  Abstract Expressionism (1952), Pop Art (1954), Minimalism (1962), New Figuration (1963), Arte Povera (1965), Hyper-Realism (1968), Trans-Vanguard (1979), Neo-Expressionism (1980), and Street Art (1990)
All these movements arose out of the serious work of artists who, either during their meetings and tertulias or in the solitude of their studio’s,  they expressed innovation and irreverence, creating, during more than a century, artworks containing real unicity, originality and aesthetical value which will take, forever, a distinguished place on the pages of the History of Modern (Contemporary) Art.
Certainly, the trivialities and the ephemeralities mentioned above: the video art of any kind, the tourism and anniversary party photographs, the arbitrary and large  bricolage-installations, the fortuitous accumulation of debris and trash, the ready-mades of the ready-mades, the embroidery, the casual and aleatory transformations will not take such a distinguished place on  the pages of the Art History book.
An avant-garde, a new movement, or a new style, considered comprehensive, structural and lasting, would, almost always, emerge in disruption and opposition to the standards of the previous one.  Modern Art which was born during the last years of 19th century, wandering through nature (landscape),  with the Post-Impressionism, caught, assumedly, in the early 20th century, the avant-guarde art train which went through the World War I and World War II, and kept on going, until today, on the same tracks, even though stopping at new stations, with renewed carriages, wider lines and other speeds.
What did happen, then? History happened. It happened two devastating world wars, a transition from the industrial era to the technological one, the manifestations of the counterculture, happened deep political, social and cultural transformations, the developing  of the digital  information and  communication technologies, the emerging of mass or industrial culture and the globalization, among others. These changes influenced or were influenced by different artists that, during all those years, travelled in that train, ones entering, others leaving it in the stations they crossed, showing to the public the art they created during that dynamic voyage, originating a giant ovulation of movements and styles. Art was happening, then.
And still, Catherine Millet in L 'Art Contemporain: ... "contemporary art" are, just words, a comfortable way to bring together dissimilar and often contradictory works and to express that the social community is reappropriating an art that has ended to escaping her.
Modern Art did not give birth to the Contemporary Art but also did not die as the salmon after  spawning. Art continues today being Modern, spawning conceptual deliria, fortuitous accumulation of debris, gigantic and ephemeral bricolage-instalations, trash and lux-kitsh, or presenting innovative painting an sculpture.
Pintomeira | 2018
An Empire of Signs


An Empire of Signs

Michael Amy, Ph.D.
‪Professor of the History of Art
‪College of Imaging Arts & Sciences
‪Rochester Institute of Technology, USA
International Association of Art Critics (AICA)

The Portuguese artist Pintomeira has been making images in a professional capacity for what amounts now to half a century.  This calls for celebration.  This artist is here for the long run, as we say -not an easy task, by any standard, in our increasingly fickle art world that chews up and spits out its young, and not so young, with growing alacrity.
Some artists stick to one mode and body of imagery through much, or the entirety, of their mature careers –I am thinking of the American abstract painters Agnes Martin and Robert Ryman.  Other artists navigate through a range of styles and subjects as do the abstract and figurative virtuosi Jasper Johns, Gerhard Richter and Sigmar Polke, to name three extraordinarily famous and influential masters.  Pintomeira is ever curious, and deliciously eclectic.  He is a constant learner who is always willing to engage with the old and the new, and make it his own. 
A brief overview of this artist’s career is in order.  Born in the village of Deocriste, in Viana do Castelo in Portugal, Pintomeira’s artistic talents were recognized by a few early on, including by the teacher with the magical name of Belizanda, who encouraged him, and only him, to draw on the blackboard.  Pintomeira’s father, however, had other plans in store for his son, who was sent off at an early age to the seminary to prepare for the priesthood.  A couple of years later, however -and without having obtained parental permission to do so- the future artist left the seminary, and on his way home, was overcome with a truly exhilarating sense of freedom. 
High school -with its accompanying growing pains- came next, after which Pintomeira’s father dispatched the rebellious son to architecture school, perhaps believing that if his son would not build up more upstanding Christians, he could at least erect structures to hold them in.  The future artist, however, did not see himself living the life of an architect, and disobeyed parental authority yet again, envisioning a life as a movie director and artist instead.  The former role did not pan out, for a lack of money, and thus Pintomeira took on the struggle of becoming an artist, and assuming his place in the limelight. 
After his first exhibition -which proved a success- in Viana in 1966, Pintomeira boarded the train to Lisbon, a second trip which filled him with a sense of boundless liberty.  To him, coming from his rural environment, Lisbon was the capital of lights, and the locus of modern life.  Almost immediately, he found a job, but abandoned it half a year later, not willing to conform to the many strictures imposed by society.  Kerouac’s On the Road proved an influential text on how to live in the post-atomic age.
Following an unsuccessful attempt to leave his country for either London or Paris -to study film, before fulfilling his compulsory military duty- Pintomeira met some of the artists working within the realm of Portuguese Surrealism at Café Brasileira.  The important role played by café culture for the history of modern art and the life of ideas in Europe can hardly be overestimated. 
With several of his friends, the artist eventually hit the road and was arrested by the Portuguese secret police for allegedly subversive activities, for having embraced -like many contemporaries in other parts of the world- the counter culture.  After being released, after repeated interrogations, for a lack of evidence, other than being in the possession of books by the likes of Sartre and Camus, and of slogans of the order of Make Love Not War, Pintomeira was forced to fulfill his military duty, and dispatched to one of Portugal’s African colonies in that year of living dangerously, 1968, at a time of war.  Guinea proved an Inferno of sorts for the young man, who rejected colonial acts of exploitation and aggression. 
Once released from his duties after one and a half years of service, Pintomeira returned to Lisbon, a city equivalent in his mind to a modern day Eden, after spending more than a season in hell (the French Symbolist poet Arthur Rimbaud, who traded arms and goods in Abyssinia, and died young of gangrene and cancer at Marseille, was a personal favorite of the artist).  The young man from Deocriste reconnected with the Surrealists in Lisbon, which group inspired the artistic course he would pursue well into the 1970’s.  As was true of the Dadaists and –subsequently- the Surrealists in their response to World War I, the thinking circa 1970 was that if progress led to the tragedy of the wars unleashed in the wake of World War II, well then Pintomeira and his friends should embrace the irrational, the world of dreams, and the subconscious.  Surrealism was empowering.  It held the promise of boundless imagination triumphing over drab and uninspiring conformist reality. 
Freedom arrived in the guise of the young Dutchwoman Marijke, who took the artist first to Paris, and then to Amsterdam, where he would settle for just short of thirty years.  After seeing his work featured in the late Seventies in a couple of exhibitions in Paris, Pintomeira abandoned the overtly Surrealist approach to painting, which had engaged him from 1970-1978, and went on to develop his Landscape (1982-1987) and Contours (1990-1999) series.  In the meantime, he had become a painter who was also involved in writing (witness his texts High Noon in the Hot Summer, of 1981, and the Condemned Letters, of 1984) which was true of certain Surrealist artists of the first wave (witness Max Ernst, René Magritte and Salvador Dali), and of several artists associated with the post-war COBRA movement Pintomeira became acquainted with while living in Amsterdam. 
Pintomeira’s exposure to the art and ideas of COBRA led to the development of his New Line series (1999-2007).  The artist’s arena of experiences, interactions and actions kept on expanding, ever since he left the village that sounded as if it were dedicated both to God (Deo) and his Son (Criste).
In 1999, Pintomeira returned to the beautiful village of his childhood, and the house of his parents -who he often, and productively disobeyed- with the small chapel, in which his parents had hoped to see him conduct mass one day, and in which he would enter his second marriage, in 2007.  Back in Portugal, the artist pursued work on the New Line series (1999-2007), which made way for the Faces (2003-2010).  In the city of Braga, where he established his new studio, Pintomeira went on to produce the Interiors (2008-2011), the Other Faces (2010), the New Faces (2016), the Exteriors (2011-2012), and the Somewhere (2013-2014) series, in addition to the Digital Works (2009-2016) and the Cutouts (2015-2016) –switching from drawing, to painting, to photography, to collage, to ceramics, and back again, as his creative impulses required.
This artist refuses to stand still.  Shifting gears is his modus operandi.  Pintomeira simply experienced too much -in Portugal, Guinea, Paris and Amsterdam.  He needs to process a lifetime worth of accumulated ideas and sensations.  His creative strategies enable him to do so, through his art, as he continues to move on.
In this essay, I should like to focus upon two recent series of paintings, which have -so far- received relatively little attention.  The paintings belonging to the Exteriors series (2011-2012) fascinate me, with their accumulation of signs, their hints of three-dimensional space that is contradicted by other motifs emphasizing the plane, and their juxtaposition of figuration and degrees of abstraction.  Witness the picture of 2011 showing a man in the foreground, turned in profile towards the right, walking across a zebra pad, and on the verge of exiting the painting as the tip of his right shoe is only a couple of centimeters from the right edge of the painting.  The man, who may be middle aged, is dressed up for work, as he carries his briefcase by its handle in his right hand.  With his hat on, the man fills almost the entire height of the right side of the painting.  The man is, however, presented to us as a uniformly black silhouette which is emphatically flat –as flat as the white stripes of the zebra crossing, and as flat as the metal road signs in the middle ground, telling us where we cannot stand still, and ordering us to slow down to 30 kilometers per hour.
The use of emphatically flat black silhouettes can be traced back to Francis Picabia’s La feuille de vigne (oil on canvas, 1922, Tate Modern, London), Dresseur d’animaux (Ripolin on canvas, 1923, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris), and La nuit espagnole (enamel paint on canvas, 1922, Museum Ludwig, Cologne).  The latter picture includes two targets, which are somewhat analogous to the disk-shaped traffic signs in Pintomeira’s painting.  The black silhouettes in the three Picabias in turn have precedents in the cut paper silhouettes produced by craftspeople and amateurs before the 20th century (and so successfully revived by the American artist Kara Walker towards the end of the 20th century, and still brilliantly mined by her, as of this writing).  The formal properties of cut papers were introduced into avant-garde practice by Georges Braque, in his papiers collés (glued papers), which helped both him and Picasso develop Synthetic Cubist painting (which rose in the wake of Analytic Cubism), which so deeply marked Pintomeira’s Exteriors and Interiors.
Let us return to the above-mentioned picture of 2011.  The top of the man’s briefcase is rendered in foreshortening, and a certain physicality is given to its handle.  This makes us project greater volume into the man himself, beginning perhaps with his shoes -one of which is almost completely raised off the ground and casts a seemingly vaporous shadow onto one of the bands of the zebra crossing.  The three beige stripes of the crossing project from the foreground into the middle ground, and practically at a right angle to the plane- almost like diving-boards hovering over a pool, or like the plank that extends beyond the side of a ship, that pirates would make their captives walk down, until they would tumble into the sea or ocean to drown or be devoured by sharks –or that is what Hollywood tells us.
The tarmac the stripes are painted upon constitutes more than a long horizontal swath, as its grey surface runs uninterrupted up to the top of the picture and -in the upper two thirds of the painting- across its width.  In other words, it also becomes foil, and thus stands in for sky or walls –the former reading helps justify the diving board / pirate ship analogy. 
The stripes of the zebra crossing, shown rising in foreshortening as they reach towards the middle ground, conceptually stress the horizontal, while the aforementioned road signs arranged parallel to the picture plane stress the vertical.  However, additional ambiguity is introduced by having a long white arrow -the kind that is painted on tarmac, to show one that one finds oneself in a lane in which the vehicles needs to veer to either the right or left- overlap one of the metal road signs. 

However, those road signs are not of metal.  Instead, they are built up of paint.  And, there is no tarmac there.  There is only paint on canvas.  Additionally, there is no man turned in profile towards the right.  Instead, there is just oily medium that was once dragged across this flat woven surface.  We find ourselves here in an empire of signs. 
Signs matter –big time.  We communicate meaning through them -and thus, are almost perpetually assailed by them, and by cues.  We have, over the years, learned to make sense of most of the signs around us -but difficulties abound, mistakes occur, and accidents happen.  Miss or misinterpret a street sign, and you may end up in a hospital -or worse yet, a morgue.  Pintomeira reminds us that painting is a language, subject to a set of potentially correct or incorrect interpretations.
In another picture from the Exteriors series, we see two women cross a street at a zebra crossing, their bodies placed almost in the immediate foreground and dramatically cropped just above the ribcages by the top border of the painting.  The woman on the left wears dark yellow stockings, and the one on the right mauve ones.  These ladies are otherwise dressed in black -for as much as we can tell, as these women’s heads and shoulders lie outside the painting- with a dress in one case, and a skirt in the other, reaching practically down to their knees.  Both women wear high heeled black shoes. 
As in the painting discussed earlier, here too we have the theme of walking –most likely in the city- among a multitude of signs and signifiers.  Here too, we have movement and stasis -the latter implied by the immobile road signs in the middle ground, warning us to turn and to slow down, which are painted mostly in shades of grey on top of grey.  Once again, horizontal and vertical vectors coalesce, as the ground the women walk across becomes the foil their bodies are profiled against.
The woman on the left with the yellow stockings holds a medium-sized dog on a taught leash made of chain, a dog as black, even and flat as the surface of the women’s black clothing.  The motif of the black dog on a leash held by a dramatically cropped woman wearing a black dress can be traced back to the Italian Futurist Giacomo Balla’s well-known Dynamism of a Dog on a Leash (oil on canvas, 1912, Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo).  Compared to that picture, Pintomeira’s painting seems calm, stately and exquisitely balanced.  Its range of greys, on the other hand, brings up the greys in the work of Jasper Johns, which oeuvre also comes to mind when we see the pattern of thin circles rising from the bottom center towards the upper left, the disk-shaped sign (think of Johns’ target paintings), the arrows, the number, and the street signs drained of their colors -Johns famously painted a green target surrounded by a green ground, and a picture of a white U.S. flag eating up the entire picture plane.  The introduction of surface-stressing man-made signs into modernist painting was effected by Braque and Picasso, and pursued shortly afterwards in Marsden Hartley’s emblematic abstract Portrait of a German Officer of 1914 (Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York), with roots in Synthetic Cubism, in which painting we see disk-shaped motifs and numbers.  Pintomeira, a figurative artist, has a marvelous feeling for the abstract nature of appearances.
Pintomeira’s Interiors (2008-2011) mix post-Cubist Fernand Léger with British and American Pop.  One of the more striking Interiors (2009), to my eyes, is the one with the young woman on the left seated in the foreground in profile towards the right, at a plain blue table, as if she were engaged in conversation with someone, though the chair on the other side of the table is empty.  The woman’s left hand is raised to her chin and cheek in an attitude of thought.  An approximation of a thought bubble, outlined with dashes, appears somewhat higher near the center of the painting, and it is empty –thereby refusing to share what the young woman is thinking or feeling; or is she feeling or thinking nothing?  The grey wall-paper with vertical stripes offers a lighter response to the darker grey carpet below that is separated from the wall by a beige baseboard.  Pintomeira works best for me when he aims for classical austerity.  This is another elegantly balanced composition mixing up levels of reality.
In another Interior of 2009, which flirts with advertisement and design, a young woman is seated, once more alone.  Here, the color red dominates, as the female is placed in the near middle ground behind the wide table in the foreground, in front of a wall decked with red wall paper bearing vertical stripes, and further from us than the two large red books that lie one on top of the other on the table.  The woman, shown bust-length with both of her hands raised to her cheeks, is lost in thought.  A window is situated behind her, but its panes are red and opaque, while the wood separating and framing the glass is painted white.  As in the previously discussed painting, here too a tall floor lamp plays a significant role, as Minimalist form, and perhaps as a substitute for the person who is absent, and who most likely consumes the young woman’s thoughts. 
Two closed forms built up of dashes appear behind the lamp and in front of the wall paper, introducing a note of mystery within a context of normalcy.  The woman’s curvilinear silhouette plays off against the rectilinear window, and the rectangle of one of its red panes is echoed in the third dimension by what could be a rectangular red vase standing on top of the table, flower-less, in the way the windows are view-less, and in the way what I take to be thought-bubbles are void.  This too is a painting about melancholy -a secular take on the theme of the pensive Magdalene?
Fifty year into his career, Pintomeira keeps on delighting us, pulling new tricks out of that bag filled with his own idiosyncratic take on art and life.  Pintomeira belongs to a distinguished line of artistic chameleons, who keep on changing in light of situations that remain in flux.

Michael Amy | 2016

CUTOUTS as a metaphor of our time


CUTOUTS as a metaphor of our time

Ramón Villares
Professor of Contemporary History
University of Santiago de Compostela
President of the Galician Culture Council

The use of the word cut-out can be of a great variety. Its use as an artistic technique is closely related to  Henri Matisse who practiced a sort of “cut & paste” which was really, as he said, a way to “paint with scissors”. However, this technique is also associated to a great variety of activities such as, femur surgery, modification and cleaning of photographs (photoshop), the proposals of the feminine dressing that parades in the fashion catwalks and, naturally, the economical politics applied to nowadays recession and its unavoidable following of cuts regarding salaries and other social wages. It is not the only word which testifies the complexity of the actual society, but it remains clear that “cut-out” designates something that is nowadays happening. It is therefore not coincidentally that it was a painter who best depicted the expression. From this tradition was born the proposal of Pintomeira (Deocriste, Viana do Castelo), who proposed a series of cut-outs as a way to celebrate his golden anniversary as an artist.
Regarding the long artistic trajectory of the author, we come across various phases (steps), conceptually diverse and audacious what concerns the technical level. One of his essential marks is actually the capacity to experiment in order to find new shapes and languages in a panorama as the contemporary painting that is forced to change skin constantly in order to adapt itself to the challenges of other visual art forms as well as migrating to new supports. It is not easy to be an artist nowadays, of material urgencies and shape cannibalism: everything changes at great speed because all is consumed with delight. Considering that poets and visual artists, have the obligation to inform the world where
and even anticipate future problems.
Pintomeira possesses technical expertise, intellectual baggage, knowledge of national and international painting trends and, besides it, a strong will to experiment. And being so, he arrives to this new proposal in his biography, which is the cut-outs series, inspired by the painter’s artwork of Henri Matisse, developed during the last years of his life that recently, was shown in all its glory and amplitude by the prestigious museums, Tate Modern and MOMA. For Matisse, this project was a crepuscular solution; for Pintomeira it is, on the contrary, a new experiment towards the maturity of his artistic trajectory. After inquiring about the surreal or reconciling the figurative art form with the necessity of identity, which marked a good part of his artwork, now he tries to understanding the actual world, in which the fragmentary, the recycled, but also the “cuts” make part of the society’s present debate, of its challenges and fears.
If we take a look at his artworks produced in the past, we observe that Pintomeira oeuvre conjugates with great skill the perspective of the reality with the capacity of transforming it into a metaphor of the society we live in. Therefore, the artworks gathering in this new theme Cut-outs keep the aesthetic and linguistic dosage of his trajectory, feeding from the desire, history and narration. The portraits, their own identity, compose the main themes on which he worked since the seventies. His vision passes through history in a conjunction of iconic references of Art History itself, historical vanguard, pop tendencies and its posterior readings, integrating a contextual construction of the subject and his search to reformulate an identity from painting. We can also interpreting his artwork in a context defined by aesthetical and formal changes of the pictorial derived from the seventies and eighties, flirting with the nineties in a continuous recovery of the painting as field of debate since visual culture, as an update and reflexive channel of the present, in a social and cultural moment, especially active confronting the Portuguese political situation in the first place then global in its ensemble.
In this way, his artwork conciliates references and offers a richness of languages that germinates in the the seventies ambiance. His surrealist series dating back to (1970-1978) compose the gearing of references close to the vocabulary and script wich  Bretón related, a style which deepens and elaborates a narrative surrealism, in the line of Dali, Magritte or Paul Delvaux, in a comprehensive understanding of creation in a dimension of the dreams, of the oneiric and the literary. These paintings are works with references to styles and singular periods in the History of Painting – Baroque, Romanticism -  and thematic of portraits and landscapes, with naked women, which reserve a final of history identified with the quotidian, with a veiled incertitude. His works keep always a whisper of transfer, of search and following of tendencies, as observed, regarding pop or figuration, in works, sometimes advertising oriented, drinking of the audio-visual culture, of the movies and the iconic.
Those will be the aesthetical foundations that will shape and draw his following productions. Pop culture acquired its main body without forgetting references to new figurations, in the Outlines theme from (1992-1999) and New Line from (1999-2007). The thematic follows with proposals from the social, through portraits drinking from everyday experiences, to a behavioural pattern and family experience. Accentuating styles, the works reviewing lines and profiles, with fields of plain colours, creating a kind of a mosaic or showcases, of compositions occupying all the space with paintings, of areas and figurative resources, and where the corporal reference focuses on faces and bodies, hands and silhouettes, where the perspective nullifies itself and a search of the emblematic is encouraged. In the series Faces from (2003-2010) and, in a more direct way, in Interiors from (2008-2011) and Exteriors from (2011-2012), first appear flat cut, fragmented and sequenced, televisual and urban figures, which correspond to what we use to call the irremediableness of Pop. An attention to what that centralizes the advertising, the iconic, for the construction of a place; and a scenography into which, as in a shop showcase or in a monitor, where the figures repeat themselves representing  a happening, a present time moment, but also ephemeral.
In all Pintomeira oeuvre, the vision possesses a transmitting intention, manifests a desire to narrate and fascinate, aspiring to transform into images daily memories. We’re dealing here with the recognition and the rethinking of the past as well as activating a use narrative, of the immediate, without forgetting the poetic side of the trajectory of the time. To this style corresponds the new theme Cut-outs, which registers and synthesize all of these sources and visions integrating his trajectory and repeats a precise technic of  the cut, the collage, and the reconstitution of a artwork which acquires a different meaning from the parts constituting it.
However, beyond the technic, which has already an accurate grammar, we can observe in this particular series an interpretation of the present of his own history. The elaboration of character’s narratives, singularized through faces and portraits, is presented from a distant past; from a past that is discovered and met, as a kind of archaeological reconstruction of the painting’s narration. Its execution, based on a construct of retails and paper fragments, resides in a present time but also from a past territory, exhibited now as a reminder of the memory’s dissected parts. This way, it will be women faces, drawn by pencil in a subtle and precise line, focused as in the photographic work and in the hyperrealism, which share composition with abstractions, with blemishes of transparencies and signs of erosion. These are artworks originated by the crossroad of high and low culture, which we could reproduce through the visual imaging culture, without losing the link to realism, as used in photographic series, in portraits and scenography.
Other compositions of Cut-outs have its roots in a past of mural paintings, using the technic of the fresco, as we can observe in the works of the Medieval Art period, linked with architecture, occupying vaults or cloisters, or on the temple walls from ancient cultures, which now as a “proximity” exercise, seem to be recuperated by a narrative making from the process of recuperation, of a restorer or archaeologist, a gesture of a recovering process of the painting and of the own culture. The colour, faces and hands configure the space; it is an insistent reference to eyes, vision, as well as hands, related whit its own physical painting dimension, from the march of the human being, of its tactile identity to beat the time. His works translate the past in a similar logic of writing, from its sources, the places, the memories, the register of events. We see and retain what we remember. This way, the history presents itself as one more page – almost like a photograph - a transparence and a white or blue pigment’s layer, marking a metaphorical past, through the own painting’s filter. These are scenes of a defined past, usual characters, mothers and sons detained in precise chronologies, in a primitivism rooted in an appearance or illusion of the past, while others look like found in our own territory.
Pintomeira composed, in a deliberate way, a fresco of the actual society, through the utilization of a polysemic technique. In case of the arts, this technique favours fragmentation and, at the same time, creates a new aesthetic where everything keeps, constantly, on deconstructing and reconstructing. Visions whether fragmented or repeated that, in spite of everything, help to understand the complexity in which we combine the personal and collective identity with the uncertain and extinguished memory, with this combination of degrees of history layers with an inquisitive look of who is wondering about the future. This is a debate, although being old, never ceased to be modern: to understand the universal, we need to start from practical or, to say it with the words of the poet Miguel Torga, considerating that “the universal is a place without walls.

Ramon Villares | 2015

Exteriors & Interiority

Interiors | José Luis Ferreira and Pintomeira

Opening Reception | Gallery Universidade Nova | Lisbon

Exteriors & Interiority

José Luis Ferreira
Sociologist, writer, art researcher
Academic Member Ind. IAA/AIE – International Association for Aesthetics

In (almost) everything, our contemporary times will inevitably be one of Archaeology’s eve of an unknown future, an undefined and unclear state, which little we question, in chronic current calendar acceleration, yet, on this ship of Men and Mutants, similar anthropomorphic (otherwise dressed and auto-propelled?) of new life forms that eventually might (re) populate the desert surfaces and the present’s eroded debris, in a revolving future, dominated by new gods and myths, in spaces of a premonitory Time imagined by science fiction and that not even techno science, nor the philosophers memory will slow down ... Although they occasionally, anticipated it. For millennia. No assumptions, statistically built by musing of rationality, or through conjecture (speculation, emotional or sleepwalking), seem - actually – to satisfy the mental demands of knowledge and wisdom, as a cultural right, individual or psychosocially acquired, as a thing (or asset), singular or collective, of a conventional individuality, regular & civilized (each time less convincing and, religiously, umbilical oranthropocentric).
On the assumption of an average stage of consciousness, ignorance - humbly assumed by some humans (supposedly more lucid), of which the cowardice excludes me – can affect my understanding and should be held responsible for the dazzled posture, or the feeling of an unidentified déjà vu, which affects me when I travel through the pictorial universe of Pintomeira.
A syncretic universe, of answered questions - immersed in (suspended or attached to) a plastic-and-visual static and explicit shape  – through a timeless lexicon, vocabulary of a writing, made of imaginary and alphanumeric symbols, which point out, imbued with (or impregnating), figures (i)memorials of a virtual reality, where it symbolizes a latent reflection and (almost) descriptive, of the extremes period 1, of historical falsehoods of the last millennium 2 , the idle occidental cultural implosion 3 and the particular social vices of an urban post-industrial society and (almost, too) geometrically (DIS) organized. Pintomeira composes, builds and elaborates this universe, according to a subjective plan, a project apparently simplistic in the synthetic flat, minimalist figuration (with primary colours of the graphic arts, design, comics), stylize themselves, as paralyzed symbiotic organisms, created from values (almost) photographic in precision, highly contrasted and equalized by the shapes outlines, the silhouette, the caricatured costume designer, the mannequin, the model, the “nature morte”… fabricated by the kaleidoscopic elements of his palette.  
Some specialists 4 that preceded me in the observational and analytical studies, editing timely assessments about your work - particularly in the singular benefit of my statement (more than out of admiration than) pretension – greatly contributing to the framework and assessment of your artwork. What I find most fascinating, however – around morphological & colourist rave and more attractive and, explosive - is (for me) its ability to synthesize (Binder and cathartic) where it appears to raise potentially the Ecumenical memory of aesthetics and of millenary humanity’s "techniques of making", since the primitives to the remote Mesopotamian civilizations (particularly Egypt), and the Hindu or Sino-Japanese cultures ... or to the (so-called) pre-Columbian, iconological, monumental and documentary sense concepts to which I would associate important ontological affinities.
I Choose, therefore, the potential interiority of your work, to arrogate myself, the alleged right to base a (re) framing of your work, which side-lines the various proposals of a more enduring  affiliation  - today matured and autonomous – there is influences (by contact or user friendliness) whether with  artists and gentlemen, assigned to the Group CoBrA5, or with the surrealists who, in Lisbon, will have marked their most steadfast convictions and based its technical and academic learning preschool , continued in Paris and Amsterdam, notwithstanding the deeper relationships, effective and legitimate, self-admittedly, the painter establishes, with some ... and others, beyond that with himself and his work – supplants, and reiterates, intensively, some other postures, more wandering, indecisive, or polymorphic , emerging fromthe praxis controversy  of a complex and multifaceted Pop ‘Art 6, translated by public academic antagonism, polemically played, by two critics’ 7 Referees of modernity, between the drifts of Neo-figurative Expressionism and Informal Abstractionism in confrontation for a spurious hegemony.
At this stage – and, during the last decades - Pintomeira acquires scrupulous artefactual sense and deliberate accuracy, (almost, if not hyper) perfectionist, in care (almost) unsurpassable and, dominant!, the most demanding work related meticulousness, resolving subjective preoccupations and objectively, related to the figurative representation and its aesthetic and socio-environmental framework.
His pictorial language, created from imagistic contextual evidence or deliberately (out of) context, is acquired (or derived from) a constant and radical pan-geometrical exploration exercise, sought through intimate Genesis assumptions and (re) inventing high contrast imaging, with the purpose of its implementation, under pretexts of optical balance, obedient to a secret dosage composition: both in harmony and in the contrast of colours to the light of a neon ' mitigated realism ... where I see, compulsively, reflected, the dissolution (almost) unprecedented of a vocational design (pure, or congenital) of remote simultaneous origins (as I said) ... Hindustani, Egyptian and Afro-Amerindian, in a unique and chimeric reconciliation of the telluric ancestral revolution which undid the Prime Pangaea 
and would determine the interoceanic borders, today artificially overcome by the actual continents!
... the linear regularity of brushstroke, expanded to wide, straight or curved stroke ... coupled to the signposting, the pictogram, the symbolic meaning and cultural determinant – of the traffic light – in the Global Village8, where you don't lose sight of [...] «solid and volatile stuff» 9 [...] coexistent, inside and outside (interior and exterior), of what is beautiful, in existence of natural or artificial things.
Hence, I admit that you should consider at a strict methodological point of view – only atavistic, taxonomic or pragmatic – and any essential differentiation between Urban Domestic Interiors and Exteriors, in the painter's pictorial work ... regardless - in the singular - this characterization could diagnose, quite legitimately, spatial, visual information, or specific coordinates (technical content and authorial observation point location) in environments (almost) strictly physical that, in my understanding, only restrict the depth and content, of intimacy, or supremacy of conceptual interiority to which I generally attach, the constituent parts of the Pintomeira copyrighted work (that I know).
Since the mid-19th century, to this day, the heterogeneity of the psycho-cultural variables has been the only constant, between the perceptiveness human potential (intellectual-emotional) and cognitive ability 
(rational-sensitive) that we want to consider, the formulation and line tracing, compelling and consistent, the admissibility of a historicist chronological compatibility logic and, generally, capable of acceptance, in the light of critical thinking , between intellectuals and artists to support themselves, stubbornly – despite its obvious infeasibility - disciplinary and methodological character which seems to remain, internationally, (almost) immutable and prevailing, although anachronistic, since the end of the 20th century. XVIII, or the beginning of the 20th century. XIX.
This is the only way to admit that “the death of art” 10 could have been enacted without success and that, after all, this notional sense endures, imposing its survival, among so many mutations. Although the values of Aesthetic suffer changes and modifications, evolutionary or radical -   and, diametrically opposed to the dictatorship of established truths and conventions temporarily immutable – functionality, social functionalism and the (dis) continued useless or (dis) functional Plastic and Visual Arts, prevail hand-in-hand on the immediate (in)consequential fact that, of them, can perhaps work for the socioeconomic immediateness of whatever present time, so (in) visible to the more attentive magnifying glass, as capable of decoding can it become, as far as analytical perspectives of the Future go.
In this same focal perspective of a possible reading, of epiphenomenalism of the past – through the interpretation and recoding of artworks (artefacts produced by humans, in circumstances of aesthetic
inspiration, hardly referenceable) –  initiated this dissertation on (or about) the artwork of Pintomeira, being my intention to transcribe to you – à la minute – some of what I think of his speech and numerous routes which I consider to be encrypted on the artworks, that show, if displayed and exposed, the sensitivity and discretion of their potential observers-reagents or (why not?) indifferent ... depending on this writing willing to be associated to him or – with one (for me) decreed ' bad taste ' - if applied to artworks patenting, this collection!
It's not occasional nor negligent, is not even following or Mimetic; the painting that you see here being built and completed is very elaborated but nevertheless the author pursues the simplicity, seeking to synthesize, in a figuration that both approaches the mural scale of a monumentality that, just between us - and, today! – still wonders today why it hasn’t been more sought for inclusion in architecture…exterior and urban that, which itself implies, assumes and reveals, as human habitat in contemporary Portuguese times, embodied in a unique way of urban expression, where are adorned beautiful mural records documenting singularities and striking stereotypes as well as peculiarities occurring every day.
The process of representation and the mitigated or minimalist forms of Pintomeira’s artwork, are so unparalleled in the history of contemporary art (either Portuguese, or European) which, in a comparative scheme – beyond the fact of being reasonable ' customary good manners ' on this sort of assessments (soi-disant) art critic (?) - would involve a few quotes and references, however referring to recognized predecessors – after the monumental scale of anonymity in the great architectural decoration, inside the miniature illustrated documentation, in archaic manuscripts - or, still, and also reflected in the recent creative spontaneity in vulgarized automatism of graffiti ... where painting is invariably written!
So close and full of similarities, It wouldn't make any sense that they’d be forgotten, or ignored, the languages that may be more visually identical, or similar, whose structure and shape may be associate
to you, either by drawn calligraphy, by pictorial projection, being more obvious an alleged proximity to the Frenchman Fernand Léger11, or with the Portuguese Francisco Relógio12 and, more vaguely, Helm, Nikias Skapinakis , Joaquin Rodrigo, Eduardo Nery (in tapestries and isometries) or, even, João Abel Manta and Sobral Centeno. Of a more remote point of view and, in particular meanings related to nature proto-rural folkloric,  or historical-evocative thematic, would find, eventually, compositional and structural affinities with both the portugueses13 Almada Negreiros and Manuel Ribeiro de Pavia, Paulo Ferreira, Thomas de Mello(TOM), or even, with Le Corbusier14 as well as certain emerging authors of De Stijl and Bauhaus Group or, more recently, de L’horlucope, or the Mûr Vivant15 (the fifties & seventies), in Paris, if not others, of less renown, designs, a laterality farther, as the expansive painting derived from graphical illustration, of distinct origin as Pop ‘Art (as cited), in packages and patented foods of the Hollywood moviegoer promotion  (which, I am only now referring to). Exteriors are – undoubtedly – the reasons of this exhibition. Secret and intimate is the interior source that inspires it.
José Luis Ferreira | 2011

1 Expressão cooptada do título de um livro incontornável do historiador Eric Hobsbawm, “AGE OF EXTREMS - The short Twenttieth Century: 1914-1991” (1994)
2 Juízo decorrente de conteúdos dos livros “MILLENNIUM”, do historiador Felipe Fernández-Armesto (1995) e “IL CEMITERO DI PRAGA”, do filósofo e semiólogo Umberto Eco (2010)
3 Noção emergente de um ensaio de antecipação de Pierre Thuillier (1927-1998), “LA GRANDE IMPLOSION” que remete para as conclusões obtidas por um Group de Recherches, constituído nos Alpes, em 2077, para estudar as causas da autodestruição do Ocidente, entre 1999-2002.
4 Moisés de Lemos Martins, Arlette Salgado Faria, Egídio Álvaro, Alberto A. Abreu e, sobretudo, Carlos Lança (ao qual devo a indução para o grau de importância da sua obra, então quase imberbe e ignorada)
5 ARTISTES LIBRES – 1.ère Série du Bibliothèque de COBRA [JORN (Asger)], textos de Michel Ragon, Jean Laude, Luc Zangrie, Edouard Jaguer e Ch. Dotremont, sobre obra reproduzida dos artistas fundadores e afectos ao movimento: Pedersen Alechinsky, Karel Appel, Atlan, Bille, Constant, Corneille, Doucet, Ferlov, Gilbert, Gudnason, Heerup, Jacobsen, Jorn...
6 neologismo introduzido, pelo crítico inglês Lawrence Alloway (1954), para identificação de produções culturais com incidência popular na civilização ocidental, predominantemente oriundas dos USA.
7 Clement Greenberg (1909-1994), autor de "'AMERICAN-TYPE' PAINTING" (1955); e Harold Rosenberg (1906-1978), autor de "THE AMERICAN ACTION PAINTERS" (1952).
8 conceito premonitório estabelecido na década de 60, por H. M. McLuhan (1911-1980): dele impende o sentido nocional de globalização, numa acepção comunical ecuménica, em tempo real, resultado da inovação tecnológica (informação/comunicação /mobilidade acelerada em meios de deslocação e transporte).
9 «hard and soft stuff» expressão transcrita, in “Art at the turn of the Millenium” (B. Riemschneider&U.Grosenick/Taschen) ...por Bill Viola (Queens, NY, USA, 1951), criador plástico-visual, audiovisual e performativo contemporâneo de notoriedade mundial, representado na National Gallery de Londres, no Guggenheim Berlim e NY, no Matropolitan Museum of NY, etc.
10 Arthur C. Danto (Michigan, 1924) filósofo e crítico de arte americano. Professor de filosofia da Universidade de Colúmbia (NY) autor da “Crítica da Razão Plástica”, anuncia o fim paradigmático da Arte, após Andy Warhol, ter assinado a ‘criação ou plágio’(?) das Brillo Soap Pads Boxes (1964).
11 Jules-Fernand-Henri Léger (1881-1955) ...segundo Carolyn Lanchner (1932) Léger (refugiado nos USA durante a II Guerra Mundial), influencia, também, entre outros, Stuart Davis, Willem de Kooning, Philip Guston, Milton Resnick, Louise Bourgeois, Richard Lindner, Arshile Gorky, Roy Lichtenstein, Andy Warhol, Brice Marden, Frank Stella, Tom Wesselmann e James Rosenquist. No prefácio dum catálogo, esteta e cineasta Jodi Hauptmann escreveu que Léger "encontrou a essência do moderno na cidade" e cita a pintor: "A vida actual, mais fragmentada e rápida de mudanças do que em épocas anteriores, aceita como seus, meios de expressão sintética e de divisionismo dinâmico."
12 Francisco Relógio (Beja,1926-1997,Lisboa). Dedicou-se, além da pintura (desde os anos 40), à cenografia, à cerâmica, desenho e azulejo. Integrou o movimento Neo-realista português.
13 ...alguns dos autores portugueses citados são detidamente referenciados num importante estudo crítico-analítico e histórico-documental de Alexandre Pomar “MAP - As pinturas da Sala de Trás-os-Montes”
14 Le Corbusier, Charles Edouard Jeanneret (na representação figurativa humana patente nos seus Desenhos Papéis e gravuras)
15 Le Mur Vivant n°50, 4è trimestre 1978, p. 40-43, 9 ill. [...] de l'Urbanisme, CSTB Paris, 1950-1960, 3 vol., volume 2, fiches 736 – ref. a MICHEL ECOCHARD, enquanto urbanista e chefe de grupo, integrado na Compagnie internationale pour la production, para uma obra mural em Pechiney

Figures and objects on stage


Figures and objects on stage


Moisés de Lemos Martins
Sociologist | Writer | Professor at the University of Minho

Walter Benjamin was the first to realize, in the thirties (1930), that artwork would lose its unique and unrepeatable original aura. The artwork did not contain anymore the source of a thesaurus signification. The recent cultural industries of cinema and photography came to printing from images, the profane character of shapes, technically reproduced, imposing to them a commercial circuit, approaching the visual arts from the performing arts, turning them into mass communication.
The visual arts follow the same path: In it remains a carnal and organic link, vital, but his spirit is no longer essentialist, nor elitist, and is shaped by this profane culture, which is supported by the new technologies of image manipulation. Instead of looking for a universal aesthetic, art now roams through the convulsions of modern experience, pairing with the mass communication and staging the world of everyday objects, reusing the techniques of photography, advertising and graphic design.
Pintomeira expresses this movement. Surrealist since the late ' 60s, but especially in the 70s, made after a multifaceted development, dominated by the influences of the Group CoBrA (juxtaposition of the initial letters of the cities of Copenhagen, Brussels and Amsterdam), and also the figurative experimentalism around the contour, he came, progressively and already in this century, next to Pop Art, being today an important figure in this context.
Through his brushstrokes, painting becomes a profane art, which multiplies the links with photography, and suggests the painting posters, collages for advertisements, the drawings of advertising products, not being anymore the stronghold aspect of a codified essence by the artist’s representation, nor an activity for the consumption of an elite. In Pintomeira paintings, it is not only the figurative aesthetic that allows the artist to communicate with the general public. Through a calculated and thorough practice of advertising techniques and graphic design, never like today, also, did he resume in his artworks the daily life of mass culture, in clear challenge to the hermetic modern art of the abstractionism.
Having started in 2000 the “New Line,” we began then to notice the influences of Pop Art and Graphic Design. Pintomeira affiliates himself - more and more in these aesthetic currents, under the influence of the British David Hockney and the American Tom Wesselmann. The theme “Interiors” is to be inscribed in this last phase of the artist.
We noticed in “Interiors” that it is not only humans who have a moment of splendour, an "eternal instant". The objects also have, either as prototypes, with the “griffe” as a trade mark, or as models on the catwalk, or as mannequins in the showcase, often "bodies without organs", according to the expression of Antonin Artaud, bodies without mouth, nose and eyes, but always with skin, eroticized bodies, with sex appeal, stylized bodies in graphic silhouettes, constituting a kind of fusion between the human and the inhuman.
This splendour of the objects exists today in Pintomeira paintings, poetic that enlists the human where it cannot be inserted. Their system of objects makes us think of an “autopoiesis,” which acts in the world as an autonomous unit that auto-creates itself.
The composition of “Interiors” is minimal. The colours are strong, contrasting, and tend to be primary (black and white as neutral colours; besides, red, blue and, instead of primary yellow, ochre). The spaces are always presented in simplified notes, without big investment in the game of shadows and with almost geometric shapes, where only the human figure is not represented in straight lines as the objects. Pintomeira traces the main component parts introducing small drawing plots, sometimes dotted, or striped, other times straight or circular, in order to define sharper a window, a curtain, a lamp, a carpet, or even the human figure. His capacity of synthesis stands out, in the views of the exterior, which are, in fact rare, in this phase of the artist. The human figure gives, almost always, only, the scale of the drawing, which by rule is drastically reduced to the outline. Often represented in black and white, but also the black and blue, ochre, and sometimes we can see a blue tie, a shoes design, the cut of the jacket flaps, and the “rouge” of the lips. The pose is the most common situation: sitting, with his hand on the arm of the couch and crossed-legs, in the case of a female figure, the hands are together side by side, fingers extended and hanging on his knees, in the case of a male figure; arms crossed; hands in his pockets, with one hand on the hip and another in his hair; in front of a door, with a cell phone next to his hear. Suggesting the pose of a model on the catwalk, or a mannequin in a showcase, when it is not represented as an image on a painting, in the case of a portrait, the human figure seems sometimes a photographic model in a studio scenario, or a cinematographic character. The combination of the human figure, both as defined shapes of an object or as undefined shapes, apparently flat, without volume, creates a dramatic tension claiming the spectator’s attention.
In this system of objects stands out the stage, the screen and the mise en scene. The staging of a vase, a wastepaper basket, a cloakroom, a lamp suspended from the ceiling, or from another ornament with    “griffe” - we're talking about designer pieces. The staging of the carpeted spaces, commercial storefronts or aseptic, of the commercial showcases or of the sales office – we’re talking about spaces equipped in order to constitute themselves art installations.
The staging of a woman’s face side-view, sitting at a table, lonely, looking thoughtful in front of an empty table, in a grey coloured atmosphere, suggesting a picture, or an image of a mise en scene
The painting of a nude female bust, seen from the back, in which, however, a slight twist of the shoulders and of the head allows to make the face visible.
The picture, horizontally striped, grayscale, on which is painted in black a huge digit seven, also exposing, in a closer plan, a woman’s face, presenting us multiple suggestions: of catwalk show, photographic posing, cinematographic character, a staged mannequin.
The picture, horizontally striped, in shades of pink, with a woman’s figure, dressed in black, also horizontally striped, suggests that the human figure is the catwalk of herself.
The staging of a woman’s bust, facing forward, with a distant and slightly oblique look, suggests a portrait, which can however be imagined as a sculpture. The staging of a woman’s figure seated, in forward position, with her hands on her face and shoulders supported by the table top, features a female figure in serene pose, despite its total enclosure, with no horizon accentuated by a closed window on her back, by the books merely decorative, also closed on the table top, by the empty jar of flowers, in a way, also closed by their uselessness, and by drawing dotted straight and curved lines dramatizing the claustrophobic nature of the place. Serenity, given the fact that the simplicity of the objects brings dynamic and intimate comfort to human life.
The staging of a cell phone, which is an instrument – a consumer’s society fetish. The staging of chairs and sofas, and a woman's shoe, displayed like design pieces, as prototypes of a trademark.
This system of objects, represented on stage and appearing in a colourful show, as elements of a complex game of dashed lines and contrasts, suggests the non-places of the current consumer’s society, anonymous places, places of passage, reverberant places of colour and light, which are moments of aesthetic emotion, whose drama is accentuated by the theatrical composition of models, mannequins or characters. There are hybrid aspects in the silhouettes figuring bodies, half photographs, half prototypes, half mannequins, half characters, half sculptures. On the other hand, in the case of eroticized objects, you could say “bio technologized,” these bodies produce in us feelings and emotions, like touching our skin. We are, of course, on this side of the stage, but we are also facing the spectacle of the objects, ending by considering ourselves also hybrids, made from an amalgam that imbricates us with them.
We can say that hybrid is, furthermore, the composition of spaces. The surprising curtain, suspended on the wall, the rigor of the object’s contours, the detailed design of the iron railing in the window, the accuracy of the figurative objects and bodies that furnish the space, are combined with the unusual contrast of unusual spots of primary colours that seem to be borne by themselves, the recurrent and enigmatic design of the digit seven (sort of a reminiscence of the Judeo-Christian wisdom, or then, of the cabalistic key on the entry’s door of, god knows, what worlds), the irregular dotted straight line that intersects an ovulate one, suggesting a dream of a paper kite, and finally the unused but protruding outline on the wall of an detailed stripped cloth.
Finally, are hybrids, these spaces where its interior’s view, allows to divide, equally its exterior, as a world of life, figured out there, after opening an intermediate space of a robust iron railing, located on the outside of an opened window, that both separates and brings closer the two spaces. In fact, contrasting with the world of the objects in the interior, is figured in the exterior the foliage of a palm tree that rises into a blue horizon, and is also figured the sudden of a “naïf” bird, in "free freedom" of blue flight.
In “Interiors,” however, these spaces that articulate the interior with the exterior, are few. In this aesthetical phase, marked by the Pop Art and by the Graphic Design, Pintomeira describes, in general, places enclosed in themselves, without vanishing lines or horizon. This procedure obeys to the principles of Minimalist Art. By favouring the exhibit space, the artist creates a work that lies between painting, sculpture and architecture. This space, simultaneously continuous and discontinuous, is based on the autonomy of the interior world and doesn't seem to conceive any exterior. But it's not inconceivable that this landscape could also be perceived from the outside, while the interior would necessarily be hidden by the façade.
Perhaps the most surprising aspect of the graphic composition of “Interiors” is the set of curved lines, folded, that intersect straight lines. Between the curved lines, is given to the number seven an important place. The curved line, folded, constitutes, according to the Leibnitz Baroque philosophy, the possibility of understanding the universe that surrounds us and the principle that organizes forces, according to multiple point of views. The fold goes to infinity, and can only be seized by a series whose number is itself infinite. The number seven is in “Interiors” the serial number. According to the Judeo-Christian resonance, the number seven is a fold consisting of an inflection point, or of inclusion over a straight line, to make place for a curve. The curve in which consists the number seven is in Pintomeira artwork an ode to the subject, which no one can seize in its entirety.
In conclusion, we can say that in this poetic artistic composition, that is “Interiors,” Pintomeira isolates the minimum units of the composition, trying to get as close as he can to the life forms contained in the staging of the objects. Today, not questioning himself, about the origin of life, nor about the way she emerges, Pintomeira presents in “Interiors” the tensions that allows him to remain consistent with his artistic route, gathering, at the same time, the conditions for a possibility of his own metamorphosis for new mutations and hybridisation.

Moisés de Lemos Martins | 2009

From the manipulation of the objects to its dematerialization
From the manipulation of the objects to its dematerialization

Alberto Abreu
Historian | Writer | Curator

The Baroque aesthetic tratadística (ensemble of treaties related to specific cultural ambient or a specific period in Portugal) defined the corresponding classicism in the light of two paradigms - those of Aristotle and Horace. The first recovered the Artwork’s project as mimesis (μιμησιζ). From the second he applied the motto “ut pictura poesis.”
Painting and poetry had the function to imitate (μιμέομαι, in medium voice) nature. And the painting appeared as mute poetry and poetry as spoken painting.
What nature concerns, the scholasticism had already produced distinction between “natura naturata” and “natura naturans.” Therefore, in this order of ideas, the mimesis would relate as much as reproducing nature objectively, as the nature is to me as it is for the artist. The ideal of the true artist would be found in Zêuxis who painted grapes in such a realistic way that the birds would be fooled by it and would try to peck at them, as Apelles who put to debate the painting of a human figure in order to be criticized by each one of the analysts (but from his point of view: the shoemaker as a shoemaker and the poet as a poet).
Virgilio is a poet when he plays the sound and the ample movement of the waves¹, as well as when he deplores the ruin of Troy², to name just three celebrated verses. In fact, Plato had already drawn attention to the fact that poets, in ecstasy that a δαίμωυ interior drove them, trying to get closer, and then reproduce the perfect ideas from which the Renaissance identified their poetic objects. That’s why Camões says about the idealized woman ("that beautiful and pure semi-idea") who “is, in his thought, as an idea”.
This reference to the Baroque aesthetic, as well to the Greek-Roman aesthetic, in no way comes inappropriately, even if it contradicts the followers, when we pretend to think the surrealism movement. It was one of the aesthetic currents (artistic and poetic) more passionately followed, more permanently maintained, but probably one of the most equivocally explained. Like the baroque painters, the surrealists are fundamentally poets. The objects, the elements, the fragments, the colors, the perspectives by them described or represented are susceptible to a semiology so many times direct and being poesis picta ou pictura poetica. A surrealist picture, even the one of a cadaver exquis is susceptible to a verbal “translation”. On the other hand, also in a surrealist picture who shows up is the painter himself, a true natura naturans of the real objects transformed into painted objects. In fact, what the painter represents from himself are the dreams witch express, in a psychoanalytic vision, what is above the reality where we find the super ego, the ideals, that in a nietzschean perspective, the social norms have been prohibiting and in a freudian perspective they have been castrating. The surrealism represents an oneiric construct and not the subconscious: “surrealism” is the transliteration of the French “surrealism”, that never pretended being “sub-” but actually “sur-realisme”.
Therefore, the surrealism was one of the more lasting if not the more recurrent movements ever: we find relations more or less oneiric and “sur-real” in Bosh, in Arcimboldi, Goya, Klee. Linked to the COBRA Group, Pintomeira began by a mimesis poetic surrealistic witch he developed during the years 70-79, constructing ruins, turgid shapes without visage, idealised bodies, perspectives, urban fantasy landscapes, some icons and objects resumed in a mystic recent phase and in a coeval of “immortalization” of the objects. These paintings, however, if the artist wants that the message reaches those who contemplate it, they can not suffer from any dysfunctions and, therefore, they are absolutely classic in its shape. Only the artist who dominates masterfully the technics and the materials, the outlines and the perspective, the color, the light and the shadow is able to paint surrealistically, like did Magritte, Dali, Cherico ou  António Dacosta.
In fact, Pintomeira has always been very meticulous when representing the objects witch he choses to display in his paintings. The accentuation of an aspect of the beings – the face, the apple’s innards cut with a knife, allows us to discover a poetic-pictorial dimension into the veiled carapace.   The intimacy we try to conquer or we dream about transforms the contour into a kind of shell that protects ourselves like the maternal womb where we were happy and where we felt safe. The contour realizes, in the Pintomeira imaginary, the maternal uterus where we were formed, but also the first life’s conquest that was the cellular membrane. In fact, in the Contournism (outline style) of this artist, rarely the frame serves as a wrapper. On the contrary, the limits of the frame represent a pictogram, sometimes a sudden break as does a framed landscape, but of a universe where each of all beings appears incommunicable within the respective carapace. The painting appears, as a portrait of reality (dreamed or imagined, for all intents and purposes, created) the mimesis of a reality’s portion (natura-interi-or-naturata), not of natura naturans, because, at this stage, Pintomeira has not yet entered the transcendental domains.
Restless artist (and prolific), Pintomeira was always trying various experiences since its richer phase that was his surrealist period. We already pointed out the outlines, some icons and emblematic objects and religious symbols. He resumed some iconic solutions of the first phase and with them gave wide access at what he classified as "Mystique and mythology". But, in a painting where the lyricism is practically absent, what shows up to us, in this episode (at least what I figured) taken out the artistic career of Pintomeira, are allegories of love. This is glossed by the classic myths of Leda and the Swan, being Leda as an ideal and soulless body (look oriented 150° in relation to the axis of the painting), the phallic Swan, engaging and protector, of white luciferin wings; and of Apollo and Daphne with this one fleeing towards the space in a 30° oblique angle. The mystical approach pulls out of the representation, no longer from the veiled love, but from loving transgression in the Jewish myth of Adam's sin, but appearing to us disguised as a Faun staring fascinated before a female torso. The mystical itself and therefore also topically feminine, in the form of a "Mater dolorosa" looking at a 30° angle inside of herself, to the gentle pain passing through her mind.
In the Pintomeira encounter with the exterior nature, we observe a pictorial obsession about the calm horizontality of the Dutch landscape, with the geometric green of the fields separated by a luminous band on the horizon coming from the blue sky witch is getting denser as it rises up through the picture.
In this Pintomeira artworks, who certainly observed attentively the Dutch zoographic tradition, what we see is not the soft and the plane geometrics neither the chromatics of Mondrian, but the concave composition of the primitive paintings.
However, in a Ponte de Lima painting the composition is convex, the color grenat is dominant and the sun, the mountains, the bridge, the clothes drying, appear detached by a white contour witch transforms them into autonomous objects.
The objects get from Pintomeira a plastic dimension.  Heirs from the 18th and 19th century “natures mortes,” as well as the baroque “bodegones”, in the oeuvre of Pintomeira they materialize themselves into authoritative figures, of which are releasing other patterns, colors, dematerialised numerical series living as pure shapes in a platonic replacement of a universe of ideal figures.
The objects dematerialization was the path followed by Pintomeira in a new line where the contour ended up reduced to a fillet, the objects’ images appear stylized when not reduced to colourless silhouettes nor respecting the other objects of the frame, and it is this compound of textures giving it pace, unreality, and a status of "pure forms". In this environment Pintomeira put quadrangular grids, birds, feminine silhouettes, faces, fruits, balconies, moons, and faces with amazed eyes. At the same time, the artist has rediscovered the plastic value of the primitive straightforwardness, the flat colors that came from Japan scaring away the symbolists and the "Nabis", of the ingenuous trace next to the pictorial construct more Raphaelesque, of the images overlay creating through colour intersectional objects. It is the own “métier” of painting that reveals itself exposing themes, forms of treatment, after denuding the style and dematerializing the objects.
In this retrospective we note the diachronic artistic evolution, but also the recurrence, despite it, of constant themes and topics, fundamentally a struggle for expression as such, through a serenity and security, resulting in a painting without anguish, fully made of a worldview constructed from a privileged lookout, situated really on this side of the things and something beyond the problems.

Alberto Abreu | 2006

¹ En 1,86: et uastos as litŏra fluctus
² En 2,361-362 : Quis clǎdem ilius noctis, quis funĕra fando / explicet aut possit lacrimis aequare labores?


Donald Meyer
Writer | Art Critics

During the seventies first decade, living already in Amsterdam, in the Netherlands, Pintomeira would send to some of his friends, letters that came to be known as “Condemned Letters.” Inside one of these letters, he stated:
“…Here I am, expectant before a blank linen-canvas! Dead texture, waitingt for vivid convulsions. Here I am, ecstatic, a profoundly opened faucet, spouting curvilinear beauty and spiral shaped outbreak, to the creation spot, through brushstrokes of oval shaped exaltation.
Ah! Great sarcasm, irony, like a fast paced train, svelte, close to derailment. Discovery, like a drifting boat, docking unknown ports. I shall rummage and poke the stone till it unveils its new shape. I shall wear off the boots which proved useful for it and dance, after the crazy spring time, on the table of delight, hoping for the warmth of the summer sunshine.
Nothing glorious or sublime was ever created without exaltation and passion! Nrver puritan, I celebrate the New Idea. I raise my glass and drink to my continuous state of rebirth. Therefore, I dissipate the mist and illuminate the space existing between me and the candid linen-canvas, to feel the brush’s work, the pigment’s aroma, into the ecstasy of colour and shape. After that, there is nothing that wouldn’t spout from my entrails to the blue parlour of my unconscious”.
Back then, Pintomeira would find himself in his surrealist period, initiated, a few years ago in Lisbon. His restlessness and impetuosity to look for a new style appeared as obvious.
In the U.S.A. and Europe, were in vogue, at that time, the most diverse tendencies and movements. From Pop Art and Photo Realism to New Expressionism, “Joseph Beuys” as well as New Figurative style. Modern Art seemed to have achieved the peak of its vitality and expansion, already giving away signs of saturation. The newborn post modern or contemporary art would nourish themselves from revivalisms in order to grow and bursting, later on, on installations, video art and kish sculptures.
Pintomeira would separate himself from the established groups and would go on a non-aligned, disconnected search. Inside the catalogue of an already realized exhibit, end of the seventies, in Paris, Galerie Entremonde, (signing yet Pintorosha) you could read:
“…Space, shape, colour and light, meet in a mannerist way into the surreal world. Mannerism and surrealism look at each other through the same mirror, looking for the convulsive beauty of Breton. The fantasy is libertine in essence and the rhythmic harmony of the composition smoothes the space between author and spectator.
…shape and beauty are now reborn, for the birth of a new style. Inside the consciousness blue parlour of the psychic automatism from André Breton, are dancing now the nonconformity of Masaccio, the insolence of Michaelangelo and the restlessness of Pontormo, to witness the festival of fortuitous encounters, on top of an surgery table, of a sewing machine and the Lautreamont’s umbrella.
…I am against the expression mechanically-lazy existing in the art in my generation. Being half a century over the surrealist revolution, it is time to autopsy the dying art’s bladder.
…Salve Minerva, my lover, take my bed of fresh grass and throw into the semen of my senses the seed of Neo Mannerist vegetation. If the spring season you’re handing me, doesn’t exacerbate and exalt my spirit’s will, I will end being buried in autumn, by the sound of harps which I pictured accompanying the rebirth of harmony and convulsive beauty’s cult of surreal mannerism.”
This, is his requiem for his surrealism, after attempting giving him another bed for new and profound dreams inside the sleeping train compartment where art was travelling rapidly, to ovulate an anarchy of styles, to the desert of imagination, on its way to the trading and speculative euphoria of the eighties.
Pintomeira is now introducing some of his most recent work. As already stated inside the catalogue accompanying his last exhibition, the artist keeps on showing his clear separation from the main tendencies. Following a nonaligned path, he introduces Contours. The contour, the element that overcomes its practical purpose, revealing its widening, lengthening and multiplication, is now born as its own autonomous space. Its influence into the work progression, becomes preponderant. Its presence is visible and obvious. Although always faithful to the figuration, between these lines and features, are characteristic elements of abstraction and graffiti.
The word contour has differentiated meanings, utilizations and qualifications. In the works that make part of this new proposal, the contour is never more the thin outline from the academic drawing and transforms itself into a large trace, in an area that situates itself between the figure, the objects, even the spaces, not being anymore the frontier that separates its interior from the contiguous exterior. The contour loses its classical purism and rigour, in its significance as in its finality, rebelling itself to demand and attaining its autonomy. That thin outline that always defined what was behind and beyond, appears now, on the works of this artist, as a bulky and dominant trace, owner of its territory, not serving to define exteriorly the figure or the object but, transforms itself in a body, reclaiming its own border line in order to consider itself a relevant space in the context of the pictorial composition. The contour acquires the status of a form in this new aesthetic composition and goes to appropriate, little by little, a territory that never belonged to him.
After a new observation, we noted that this bulky outline, rejects solitude and multiplies itself, duplicating and triplicating, expanding its territory and assuming its place and relevance in the aesthetic and formal construction of the artwork, as we can see in Contornos 20. On the other hand, this contour does not only fill the place around the figure or the formal space, but, evidencing an impressive dynamism and vigour, enlarges, branches out, and propagates itself to beyond this place and reaches the physical frontier of the representation.  
Brush writing is profoundly personal and invites the spectator to browse through all these dense contouring lines, giving you the possibility to contemplate the figure or object, inside the peripheral comfort of an amphitheatre, and offering you the opportunity to be part of the representation. Rigorous, almost arithmetic, in all of these lines and outlines, increasing a preoccupation regarding the search of a harmony, that softens and tranquilises a more dramatic observation of memory. However, this rigorous approach, in search for balance, doesn’t mean austerity or lyrical imprisonment. He is, here, in a fairylike euphoria decorating a blues aiming to become a “pink” happy ending.  This linear exuberance, these thick crossing and connecting contours, leading to new areas, to a static staging, or inspiring movement and rhythm to a depurated figuration. offering a dynamic and entertaining atmosphere
It might, certainly, lead us to think that, sometimes, this confusing medley of lines were drawn arbitrarily, ruled by automatic gestural. Nothing so misleading. They are the fruit of a rational construction. Eliminating some lines and rethinking others, they are, in some cases, measured by millimetre or weighted to the gram, reminding us the meticulous and rational work that Mondrian invested in his compositions.
Lots of these thick lines are the extension of the repetitive outlines, outside of its practical area; others appear to be a counterweight in the lengthy search of balance or a meticulous arrangement. This is so obvious that, if it was possible for the spectator to withdraw the figure or object from the representation, another work would appear, autonomous, with its own plastic expression but, now, already into the world of abstraction. By considering that this renewed and refreshing vision about the contour, introduces and brings, to the painting area, a different aesthetic conception and an original plastic expression, all this encourages me to declare that, in the golden times of the modern art, when we observed a proliferation of styles, tendencies, movements, groups and manifests, this innovating artwork, could, then, be denominated and perpetuated as the “contournism.”
This theme named Contours, extending itself along the nineties decade (1992-1999), represents an ensemble of about eighty works, in its majority, acrylics on canvas and some acrylics on paper. It is, predominantly, a figurative work, strongly stylized and depurated and it was, never there, the preoccupation to incorporate any message or to attach any symbolism.  
The shapes that prevail for their depurated and elementary state, are also integrated into a simple composition, being mainly, the colours, brought in complementary contrasting that bring all their exuberance and vivacity to the work.
However, observing, his most recent works, this exuberance of outlines and colours seem now more restrained, bringing its representation to a stage closer of the spectator.
New elements and other shapes make their appearance in a new composition. The appearance and integration of colour, conciliates and harmonizes itself to celebrate a new way that we feel is coming soon and is strongly present in this last works O Mês da Cerejas (The Month of Cherries), A Hora da Merenda (Snack Time). Those voluminous contours, so domineering and omnipresent that made their way provoking and seducing the spectator, are claiming now for a new configuration. The autonomy and the territory they fought for and they acquired,  have never had the seal of eternity.
Pintomeira keeps on going, celebrating the new concept. He also keeps on rising his cup to his continuous rebirth. He is the artist always faithful to his signature, but he is not willing to repeat himself eternally.

Donald Meyer | 1997

Faces of renaissance madonnas
Faces of renaissance madonnas
José Paulo Leite de Abreu
Director and Curator of the Museum Pio XII

We are itinerary. Life progresses and us with it. The sensations multiply, the events shape us, others exert their influence on us, the knowledge of the others provokes us, our imagination is fertile.
On the itinerary of many stand out the followers, the imitator – saying no to fertility; leading them to the lack of adventure, the deplorable lack of creativity, the too protected security not daring new paths, the tedium of roads never opened to novelty. There are others, however, that decide to innovate; breaking with traditional schemes and schools; painting reality with new colours, audacious, nonconformist; that ruminate the reality to the point of transforming it into a new one, into an auto-reality. That is the most relevant and most essential I can say about the artist Pintomeira.
He studied and developed himself. He ran all over the world, the world of the art and the world of the life. He went to Lisbon, Paris, Amsterdam. He got in contact with schools and art movements (some of them influenced him and still today are lurking): surrealism, the Cobra Group or the New Line, Pop Art...
Pintomeira is, above all, a nonconformist, a poet of the painting, an innovator in creating new shapes and new chromatic fields.
In this struggle for independence, shapes get loose, they only insinuate themselves, suggesting more than what they really say. And even when geometry gets understandable and colours harmonize themselves to give balance to what you’re contemplating, the creative process takes over the formal one.
In Pintomeira’s artwork is imperative to give relevance to the contours, which focus the sight and focus the interlocutor’s sight, underlining centralities and acting as a uterus where the essence of the message being transmitted remains hidden and protected.
It also combines various capacities, not just of the brush, but also of the photo and of the graphic designer.
In the theme Faces a series of acrylics on canvas, mixed media on paper and ceramics, are all there: the painter; the photographer; the designer. All loose. All creative. The primary colours in complementary combinations on a grey background. The faces are depurated and drawn in black outlines on an abstract background.
As inspiration, Pintomeira let himself to be carried until the beginning of Modern Age, this prosperous period of human creativity and sacred respect for classic art. In fact, the faces that his canvases reproduce are freely inspired from the Renaissance Madonna’s. Stylized. Convulsed. Quietly provocative.
While in Amsterdam, at the beginning of the seventies decade, Pintomeira wrote to his friends. In one of those remaining "Condemned Letters", he depicted himself in a way that, no one could have done better. And his words (autobiographical), which I recognize being entirely true and hereby I transcribe in a way of appreciation, were these:
"Nothing great and sublime was ever created without exaltation and passion! Never puritan, I always celebrate the new idea. I raise my glass and drink to my constant rebirth. In this way, I suppress the mist and illuminate the space between me and the blank canvas to feel the brush’s labour, the aroma of the pigment, around the ecstasy of the colour and the shape. Then, nothing exists that has not spouted from my entrails, passing through the blue hall of my unconscious”.

José Paulo Leite de Abreu | 2014
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