Maria Leontina

Year: 2012


Cristina Burlamaqui

Maria Leontina, in her singular logic, apparently contradictory, is the owner of a pictorial constancy without equal. Her voice leads us to a fluid, ethereal universe, to a true truth and, at the same time, shows herself to be very broad, although with an always silent and timid consistency. Her work carries a precise artistic aspiration, detached from the modern urgency of an art capable of reconciling all the duality between the figurative and the abstract, in a silent dialogue of extreme delicacy in "tranquil daydreams", taken from the teachings of Gaston Bachelard. Thus, it is necessary to review this significant pictorial work of Brazilian art history that still seeks legitimacy and is not free of new discoveries.

To think about Maria Leontina's legacy implies the challenge of investigating her poetics, revising her vast plastic vocabulary, revisiting works that create a unique universe.

Always according to her shy and withdrawn personality, with a dense lonely career and methodical determination, Maria Leontina does not reject any creative impulse of double indetermination to engender the flows of how we perceive the world and build our knowledge and articulate our memories. It is not the simple application of a system of mathematical proportions thought a priori, but a vibrant movement that shows intuition and sensuality in the genesis of her works. Even in the badly finished canvases the artist reveals herself, not as an immaculate icon, but as an author of a plasticity that calms down.

Her creative vein is based on a poetic lyricism always beyond the almost mystical emotion and metaphysical melancholy. It is in the advent of counterculture, because it transits through styles and languages in which it makes a critical operation before the modern legacy, and remains in its veracity in which the enigma takes place in the game between figuration and abstraction, without conflicts.

Maria Leontina was born in São Paulo to a traditional family and began working in the arts in the 1940s. In 1949 she married the Carioca painter Milton Dacosta, whom she admired for his methodical rigor in painting. In 1952, on a scholarship trip to Paris, she came into contact with abstract-geometric trends and, of course, brought this experience to her work. While Dacosta performs a formal reduction of rigorous geometry, bordering on "pure abstraction", Leontina, in her constructive phase of the 1950s (series Os Jogos, Os Enigmas, Da Paisagem e Do Tempo) is not reduced to the physical universe of painting structures, neither in the rigid theory of mathematical games, nor in the abstract representation of the world, but in the time of invention, of real encounter with the world, when the composition is determined and undetermined by poetic signs juxtaposed, in contrast and dislocated in relation to each other, in different rhythms of color. and ..

Color is the visceral balance of her pictorial composition. It is in color that her work is placed and distinguished, with tones and semitones and the background of the canvas - in its most abstract interior - and in the construction of transparencies so that the planes of color continue to vibrate on others, in an absolute sum of real and unreal in the spiritual realm of painting. With the harmony of the blues, for example, it permeates with some anxiety a certain number of parallels, rectangular planes, triangles juxtaposed in the games of nuances. In the intensity of the tones (blues, ochers, earthy browns) she demonstrates the whole dimension of the planes, highlighting the unique and greater quality of her work. In the look of color lies her primordial quality and summary of all her poetics.

Leontina approaches the architecture of the Castelinhos de Dacosta, but its construction is more lyrical, stripped of the rationalist theory of constructivism. The simple form of language that leads Dacosta to the structures of the Castelos and rhythms transported in punctual forms, in Leontina is undone in color, which has time and life of its own. The subjective states of experience with colour come loaded with symbolic rhythms and allegories of memory, when visceral and matter carry intuitive and imaginative significance of the visible and are determined in the colour of emotion that harmonizes them. The evidence of colour is the main element, the weight of vitality in Leontina's painting. . . . .

Like Dacosta, she developed a poetics of geometry in painting that refers to and contrasts with Paul Klee's musical constructions. And, instead of following the discussions and rules of concretism, she takes refuge in a unique painting of special language. He shows himself to be adept at sensitive geometry and the dosage of color, like a visual poetry; he gropes the sublime of diaphanous colors, of deep blues in silent construction - what Mario Pedrosa defined as "windbreaks, towers, children's toys" and in this profusion of structures he obeys a "game of more positive aplats". .[1]

The choice of colour is based on your sensitive experience. And in the "almost mathematical", "almost geometric" works of imprecise and unexpected construction, it gives evidence to the triangles of color, opposed to squares, ochre castles, dirty whites, blacks and beautiful blues, color of the infinite. There, it does not radicalize the non-figurative alternative of its essentially constructive, persistent and vibrant spirit, in which the sensitivity of color and composition oscillate between the delimited and the freedom, the border and the infinite.

In the series Estandartes, Páginas, As Orantes, Os Reinos e As Vestes,, in mystical references to religion, the chromatic experience imposes itself on imagination, intuition and forms, in the full 1960s. It leaves the ruler and the compass and enters into experimentation. and . .