Eduardo Santos’ exhibition of new paintings, Memories of Colours is an extension of the themes present in his previous work. The artist has dedicated this show to his grandmother, Maria Helena Soares.
He takes his inspiration from childhood memories of sitting by Maria as she sat at her sewing machine, tirelessly cutting and sewing fabrics. As she worked, she told him fantastic tales and whimsical stories about hidden lands and mystical forests. Pieces of coloured fabric would drift down onto the boy, enveloping him in their greens, blues, pinks and many floral patterns. Santos recalls the effect was one of coziness and security, enveloped in an otherworldly, half-invented mystery. He credits his grandmother for planting seeds in his imagination, which are now blossoming into his mature paintings.
When we look at Santos’ paintings we certainly view them as abstract creations, but they also may be suggestive of elements in the natural world. We may see hints of foliage, for instance, or stretches of water; perhaps we might notice grottoes or lagoons within the swirls and tendrils of abstract marks. Some of the surfaces are crusty, redolent of earth or rock, while others appear liquid or deliquescent. In some of the works there are suggestions of cavernous spaces, and we can almost hear our own half-forgotten memories echoing through the chambers. His work is sometimes reminiscent of the later paintings of the American, Jules Olitski, in their elegant crustiness.
These abstract paintings reveal an artist who is forging his own unique path. They are filled with suggestions of Nature, but they are also infused with the half dreams and stories passed down through the generations from grandmother to grandson.
Steve Cox, 2018.