Congratulations to Filipe Rocha da Silva, Director of the MFA in Studio Art program at SACI, for his exhibition “Here to There: Textile Drawings” at Art Projects International in Tribeca, New York City.
“Here to There: Textile Drawings,” a solo exhibition of eight large textile works by Filipe Rocha da Silva, Director of the MFA in Studio Art program at SACI, opened on November 1st at Art Projects International and is on view through December 15th, 2018. A special walk-through with Filipe was also held on November 3rd. The exhibition is Filipe’s first major solo show in the United States and includes two of his most recent textile works making their public debut.
Here to There: Textile Drawings
Trained as a painter, Filipe Rocha da Silva has long been fascinated with patterns and draws thousands of tiny figures in rendered expanses. In his earlier paintings and drawings, the figures are simultaneously human and calligraphic markings standing in for the human. From a distance, the forms in the works solidify into modernist shapes — a stylized mound, a grid of colors — or figurative landscapes.
Since 2013, it is his labor-intensive "textile drawings" that depict similar patterns using solely the precise lines of wool thread borrowed from Arraiolos weaving. By using this specific technique, based on traditional secular weaving crafts common in Portugal, his new textile work blurs the conventional divisions between craft and fine art, and resists fixed boundaries. And by utilizing sewing and embroidery, time-consuming handmade practices not typically associated with male artists, his textile works prompts viewers to reconsider gender roles in art making.
In the textile works on view, the extremely small figures that populate his work have now become embroidered stitches. Instead of repeated geometric patterns customary in Portuguese traditional weaving, the works in the exhibition depict figurative out of focus landscapes or interiors conveyed by chaotic stitched movements. Much like pixelated digital imagery, the visibility is disturbed by the overlapping figures that occupy the works. Aggregate of Cork Trees (2018) and Fallen Tree (2016) like his earlier Fertility Landscape (2015) depict wild forest scenes, populated by tiny figures throughout, textured by the wool threads in all directions. As in his previous works, it is a world where the collective human presence is at times overwhelming, but nature persists and dominates. "The chosen landscape scenes do not correspond to classical ideas of a peaceful, idyllic and rural beauty, but display an excessive and chaotic nature, always struggling to fulfill every inch of available space" Rocha da Silva reflects.
The exhibition includes two of Rocha da Silva’s latest works — Room in the Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna (2017) and Fragments of Textile from Prato (2018). Created since the artist’s move to Florence, Italy, in 2016, these two works from his Fragmented Culture series are inspired by his new surroundings and represent a new direction of fusing his personal and artistic history into his textile drawings. In his catalogue essay that accompanies this exhibition, Barry Nemett writes: “Centuries and continents of art history thread through Filipe’s work almost without our noticing… In his Room in the Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna (2017), however, art history takes center stage, functioning as the literal subject. Here, art hangs salon-style in the corner of a museum gallery. Filipe is less interested in identifying any of the paintings than he is with the work’s overall atmosphere.”
The exhibition is accompanied by a fully-illustrated catalogue with an essay by Barry Nemett.
- Art Projects International
About the Artist
Filipe Rocha da Silva (b. 1954, Portugal) currently lives and works in Florence, Italy, as director of the MFA in Studio Art program at Studio Arts College International (SACI). He completed undergraduate studies in Arts Plastiques et Sciences de l’Art at the Sorbonne, Paris, France (1973), Fine Arts School, Lisbon, Portugal (1980) and Studio Arts College International, Florence, Italy (1982), earned his MFA at Pratt Institute, New York (1985) and his Ph.D. in Visual Arts at Universidade de Évora, Portugal (2005). Recent exhibitions include: Blurred Horizons: Contemporary Landscapes, Real and Imagined, Art Projects International, New York (2018); Post Painting, Centro de Artes de Tavira, Portugal (2017); Desenhos Têxteis, Fundação Arpad Szenes Vieira da Silva, Lisbon (2016); Bl, MUTE, Lisbon (2016); and Wool Drawing, Art Projects International, New York (2015). His work is represented in major collections, including Centro de Arte Moderna do Funchal, Madeira, Portugal; Centro de Arte Moderna, Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, Lisbon, Portugal; Museu da Cidade de Lisboa, Lisbon, Portugal; Museu de Arte Contemporânea, Fundação de Serralves, Porto, Portugal; and Museo de Arte Contemporáneo Unión Fenosa, A Coruña, Spain.
See more of Filipe's work on his website.
Learn more about the MFA in Studio Art program at SACI.