Marianne Boesky Gallery is pleased to present The First Green, an exhibition of new work by Brazilian artist Thiago Rocha Pitta. The exhibition—the artist’s second solo show with the gallery—marks a new chapter in his meticulous investigations of the natural environment, as he delves deeper into the origins and evolution of the earth. On view from April 1 to April 29, 2017 at 509 W. 24th Street, The First Green will debut work created over the last year, including more than 20 frescos, a video and an installation created on site at the gallery with a living bed of moss and a concrete tent-like structure.
Rocha Pitta’s diverse practice is connected to a deep fascination with the subtle transformations of the world around him—the slow erosion and alteration of desert terrain, the descent of fog, and the fluctuations of underwater formations. His installations, videos, and paintings have captured the vibrancy of a living planet by training the viewer’s eye on the slow changes of materials, the physical progressions of miniscule segments of land, and the sudden shifts in weather. While figures are rarely depicted in his work, humanity’s presence and relationship to these changes is powerfully felt.
With this new body of work, Rocha Pitta examines and elevates the natural processes that served as the foundation for all life. Tracing the relationship of microorganisms like stromatolites and cyanobacteria to photosynthesis through to the development of the ozone layer, Rocha Pitta creates a rich visual tapestry that reinvigorates this narrative and makes it feel immediate to contemporary life, particularly as we consider our role in the continued transformation of our planet.
These ideas are manifest in this exhibition through the artist’s engagement with the color green—a color new to Rocha Pitta’s oeuvre and one that he first began experimenting with in early 2016. The color evokes the lush landscapes of his native country and is synonymous with the diversity of natural environs around the world. Using the vast spectrum of green-blue tones, shades, and gradations, Rocha Pitta creates abstracted views of land and ocean that burst with energy. The vividness of these views is further accentuated through the artist’s use of traditional fresco techniques—also new to the artist’s work—including the application of paint to wet lime plaster to build a sensory experience of depth and motion.
This work is complemented by the video, Before the Dawn, which the artist shot at Hamelin Pool in Western Australia last year. Hamelin Pool is one of only two locations on earth where living marine stromatolites—akin to those found in 3,500 million year old rocks—still exist. The video captures these extraordinary living forms at first light of day. The imagery offers a poignant mediation on the beginnings of life, from the tiny organisms that sparked the development of the world’s diverse flora and fauna to the first experience of light.
“The dawn is a moment when light and darkness aren’t yet separated, and the world is in an indistinctive atmosphere. It feels primeval. This sensation permeates the work featured in The First Green. It’s a recognition of the extraordinary happenings and processes that led to the creation of the world we understand today. It’s also a reminder that our environment isn’t static. It’s breathing and changing all the time,” said Rocha Pitta. “Capturing the magnitude of these concepts has also inspired new avenues of creativity in my practice, paralleling physically what I am discovering intellectually.”