Created during the Covid-19 pandemic, the visual arts study group entitled Matilha, that means Pack, proposes, in its first exhibition, to reflect, from a multidisciplinary perspective, on the term that entitles the group from a multifaceted perspective, both in terms of techniques and approaches.
Each participant develops, in their skills, up to three works in order to better present their poetics about the proposed theme.
The meaning of “pack”, in dictionaries, points to a “set of dogs, generally used for hunting”.
However, in its figurative sense, it defines a “meeting of individuals exalted against someone” or even a “group of vagrants, of people without occupation or work”. On the Navy universe, the term defines a “group of submarines that carry out an attack together”.
If taken individually, each member of the pack, the dog, occupies different social positions according to different cultures. In Egyptian civilization, it was used both as a domestic and hunting animal. Its symbolism was mainly portrayed with the god Anubis, represented on the body of a human and the head of a jackal, being the dog responsible for guarding the sacred doors and guiding the dead to the spiritual world.
In the same line of reasoning, in the Greek mythology, responsible for many of the formation of Western culture, there is the Cerberus, the famous three-headed dog, which symbolizes protection and secret knowledge about death and resurrection, being responsible for guarding the passage that leads the dead to the spirits world.
In Central America, dogs also guide souls to the other side and, therefore, according to anthropological studies, their bodies were found buried with those of humans, and it is believed that they helped the newly dead cross a lake or river into the realm of the dead.
In summary, in these aspects, the symbolism of the dog represents a deep and wise knowledge of human life and the afterlife. However, in Islam, dogs are seen as unclean, unhygienic and evil; and Muslims avoid touching the dog, being closely associated with the idea of eating leftovers found in the garbage.
In the world of tattoo, dogs are often portrayed to indicate fidelity, love, loyalty and companionship. Therefore, thinking about the “pack” theme allows multiple inputs, all of them, in some way, visceral, as the theme is “on edge” of the group participants.
The Pack Lines
Everyone knows the collective of the word wolf.
Those who didn’t know, learned from the Oscar D’Ambrosio’s text that brings us an exegesis of the word pack.
At this exhibition and every Wednesday by Google meet, this postmodern sucia meets new and old friends, artists, musicians and critics, art lovers.
Some have never met in person, but they are recent companions of maturity who live virtually as if they were childhood friends due to their mutual interest in the production of painting, drawing, engraving, jewelry, photography and music of enviable qualities, furthermore, a good conversation lasting ninety minutes
In this new world of a lot of technology, a lot of pandemic and little empathy between people, it is perceived in everyday life that the most loved neighbor is the one who is far away from us, preferably with an ocean separating the parties
They connect when there is no threat of losing affectivity. This group does not correspond to this assertion. We admire artwork and, whenever there is an opportunity, those closest geographically meet for an exuberant dinner adorned with pizza.
The members of Projeto Matilha are from São Paulo and several cities in the countryside and in the south of Minas Gerais where the winter and summer are inclement with the papers that receive watercolor or the canvases that receive oil or acrylic, in addition to Brasília, Florianópolis, Londrina and even this author from Belo Horizonte who is not an artist, but dies of envy of who is, all presenting what’s new in their careers.
The attentive spectator will discover that in this exhibition there are emeritus portraitists and landscape artists, some today painting abstracts with deceptive simplicity, textile artists, engravers passionate about the technique that Marcelo Grassmann consecrated, a jeweler-physician, designers and a photographer who produces mysterious portraits of everyday life or of airplanes retirees and first-rate potters. One thing is certain: there aren’t any tailors or seamstresses, but they are all masters of the lines.
Online meetings and creating a story around art
Covid19 pandemic in the year 2020.
In April 2020, I receive an invitation to join an online group with artists, above all, for conversations about creation processes, exchanges and impressions. I’m not an artist, I’m a theorist, I joined out of curiosity and friendship. I also wanted to understand interpretive framing tactics, whose aesthetic-critical vocabulary now extends beyond the already recognized expressions: regional, local, late, popular, traditional, after all, it is a group that brings together artists from different parts of our immense country, even if the prevalence is from São Paulo.
Of the initial group, I only knew one of them personally. The others, I know only by their works and trajectories. I felt and sometimes still feel like a stranger in the nest, not for lack of reception, but for lack of experience with them. Some are long-standing friends.
In a period of many uncertainties, the meetings and exchanges between artists and people who experience and appreciate art encourage us to continue working, even though this group doesn’t talk about a pandemic, or politics or harmful things, outside the specificity of plastic languages and creative processes. However, everyone seeks, through artistic work, to give meaning to existence, whether their own or that of the community. It’s all very good, stimulating, a balm of good energies.
There is no doubt that it is a group that continues to believe in the transforming power of art and in the search for overcoming adversities.
We know that the specificity of the work of visual artists differs greatly from other artistic manifestations of an eminently collective character, as it allows a state of concentration often characterized by social isolation, during the creative processes. This group found a way to break social isolation and be able to look and talk about other works, highlighting the processes that bring works into existence.
With the pandemic, we had to deal with various cancellations of our routines, but we created another one: the weekly meeting. We were and are still limited in a present that robbed us our mobility, but made it possible for new people to enter the artistic life, to get to know them, to evolve through them. The group’s artists remained productive during this critical period, some avoiding contact with brutal reality, creating private universes, others for remaining active, seeking to interfere in the political and cultural processes of their regions. The group allows for an inward learning, with readings, reflections, exchanges, as a way of also seeking content, reducing the limitations of the moment, insisting with great willingness to get out of the trivialization of days, creating a story that promotes unity around art. Thanks.
Sandra Makowiecky _ Professor of Aesthetics and Art History at UDESC Arts Center – Santa Catarina State University, Florianópolis – Santa. Art critic and historian.