Jonathan LeVine Gallery is pleased to present Unforeseeable, new works by Brazilian artist Rafael Silveira in his debut solo exhibition in New York. This is one of my favorite exhibits ever at LeVine!
Rafael Silveira’s imaginative work combines figurative classical painting, comic-inspired imagery and surreal subject matter, resulting in a universe where dreams are blended with waking life and the impossible appears commonplace. His portraits reminded me such artists as Travis Louie, Mark Ryden and ever legendary cartoonist Tex Avery.
Silveira credits his native Brazil as a source of inspiration and describes his experience living in the country as having “daily contact with the bizarre, absurd and preposterous. It’s like walking through a wild forest where beauty and dangers reveal themselves in strange, random and haphazard ways.”
Paintings in Unforeseeable are like portals into an alternate dimension, one that exists without distinction between natural and artificial elements. Many of Silveira’s figures are hybridized, such as a woman with tree branches for arms (see photo above) or another with a popsicle for a head (see trilogy below).
The absence of logic and reason allows a blurring of ascribed definitions: human, animal, plant or object. A vintage aesthetic and various themes including lingerie, tattoos, skulls and food converge in a visual expression of Silveira’s stream of consciousness.
A hallmark of Silveira’s work is the use of sculptural frames to compliment his canvases. The custom frames are designed by Silveira and carved out of wood by traditional master craftsmen who specialize in creating religious altars and ornate furniture. This unique collaboration brings the imagery of his paintings into the third dimension and allows for an interesting interplay between each external structure and what they contain, within.
Rafael Silveira’s Unforeseeable will be on Exhibit Through July 26th, 2014 at Jonathan LeVine Gallery, Located at 5429 West 20th Street, 9th Floor, in the Chelsea Gallery District.