While the paintings feel initially grounded in still life, evoking a dinner party scene with flowers and candles on a table and the vague depiction of a chair or a plate, his paintings are more visually surreal. These remind me immediately of trying to focus closely on details when in a dream or trying to remember a place from memory. It can be more difficult to remember exact details, and memories hold more vague impressions of color and shapes such as Paulo Nimer Pjota’s paintings.At the center of these dreamlike colorful paintings are clear pictures of vases, ancient artifacts resembling Greek ceramics. Among the pastel hues of the blurry paintings, these vases stand out, as if they are cut out and glued directly to the painting from a different dimension.
Even more surprising are the creatures surrounding these ceramics, such as a tiger-like animal holding its two paws up and gazing at us with stark white eyes hiding behind a mask in “Jardim de faunos,” 2023, or the God-like face emerging from a cactus flower in “Dialogo entre górgona e cacto,” 2023. Alongside the lush floral paintings that surround the gallery space are two bronze sculptures as well, one of which is skeletal like the ghostly figure of an animal in its afterlife.Pomegranates, artichokes, pears and other fruits surround the tables in the still-life paintings. Perhaps the artist places the viewer in heaven, a lush garden in the next life, or a fairytale where a table of fresh fruits and flowers is ready for your arrival. Mythical animals greet you as you sit down and look at the past and future all at once. And maybe you can hear the faint echoes of the song ‘Na Boca do Sol’ in the background of this dream.
“Paulo Nimer Pjota: Na Boca do Sol” is on view at Mendes Wood DM, 47 Walker Street, New York, through March 2.