Roberto Bernardo, São Paulo Member Since February 2009 Artist Statement Roberto Bernardo was born in Rio de Janeiro but currently lives and works in São Paulo, Brazil after studying for 3 years in London. His paintings show up great sense of formal elements, with an enormous flux of visual information, as well as skilled treatment of the surface and elaboration of color. Besides, he makes use of the chance without ceremony, when he takes advantage with exceptional expertise of the proper nature of the gesso, which he uses as a priming material, creating a fantastic textured surface and an intricate work of color. The nature of gesso, soaking and arresting the paint deep inside until it is saturated with pure color allows him to scrape, rub and work outwards from within the heart of the work, creating an intense feeling of warmth and depth. His colors are intense, even when sometimes somber and difficult to visualize without proper lighting.
There is a sense of obsessiveness in his work. The paintings allude to the idea of compulsiveness and perfectionism. He is interested in exploring contrasting ideas, “making imperfections perfect”, controlling the subject, yet making it appear uncontrolled in a certain way. The incredible pictorial surface Bernardo achieves is down to hours of painstaking effort. It takes sometimes even a month of non-stop work to finalize a large canvas. A closer look reveals fine details and incredible pictorial surface. Roberto scrapes and scratches the surface over and over again until he unearths a satisfying whole image. It’s a palimpsest of color and texture, of presence and absence, material and immaterial, once painted and erased, in a continuous dialogue. He sometimes presents ambiguous compositions, revealing images that resemble landscapes or skies full of clouds, but he is adamant in saying he has no intention of producing something other than purely abstract forms. He clearly indicates a new interest in the painting as object, as the revelation of matter (through the encrusted surface) and of time (through multiple layering, fragments of lettering, etc).