Pacheco, Ana Maria - VM - Meryl Doney
Ana Maria Pacheco: The Longest Journey
Ana Maria Pacheco is an artist of extraordinary diversity. Her work draws on a wide variety of cultural references from her Brazilian heritage, including folklore, classical myth, mystical Catholicism and medieval satire. She moves freely between one medium and another, producing drawings, etchings, paintings and monumental sculpture.
Pacheco uses her source material to create works that play with the art of storytelling. She has developed a particular use of symbols, motif and devices that combine to produce a distinctive and fantastic imagery. The image of the journey is one of her recurring motifs. In 1987 she produced two large dry-point incised images entitled The Longest Journey I & II, the ideas eventually developing into this large sculptural group. Ten human figures are travelling in a massive boat. Half are dressed conventionally, with Pacheco’s signature polychrome painting and real, implanted teeth. The other five are more ambiguous, still with distinctive faces, but painted in white with long cloak-like garments.
The meaning of the work is also ambiguous. Are they travelling towards death? Is this a Ship of Fools, a classical image of mankind’s lostness, often used as a parody of the Ark of Salvation? Or perhaps it is an
… And the little ship wings home, faltering and lapsing
on the pink flood,
and the frail soul steps out, into the house again …
Ana Maria Pacheco: The Longest Journey, 1994, polychromed wood, 320 x 335 x
The images above show the sculpture installed in the North Transept of Salisbury Cathedral during the Salisbury International Arts Festival 2012. Photographs by Colin M. Harvey, reproduced courtesy of Pratt Contemporary.
The Longest Journey has been exhibited more recently in Masterpieces: Art and East Anglia at the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts, Norwich, England (14 September 2013 to 24 February 2014).
Ana Maria Pacheco was born in
Meryl Doney is a freelance fine art curator, specializing in presenting exhibitions in cathedrals, churches, festivals and other challenging spaces. She has curated over 40 exhibitions and performance pieces, including Moon Mirror by Rebecca Horne in
ArtWay Visual Meditation 18 May, 2014