Muretz - 2017
To celebrate our up coming exhibition with Brazilian street artist Muretz. Our top wordsmith Meg Ellis had a little chat with him.
It Follows me Everywhere by Mauro ‘Muretz’ is an exhibition which sees the artist experiment with a new design front for his paintings, created in early 2017. The artists’ expert use of movement and unexpected composition captures a flow of energy that interacts with his faceless creations and penetrates his haunting scenes.
“Sometimes we ignore it, but it’s there always following us.”
Muretz brings something new to the viewer this year, and it’s something more profound. You feel his faceless characters and strikingly minimal designs somewhere in your core, and it’s hard to pin down what lurks there. There’s a silent poetry found between the effortless outlines of the scenes portrayed. This playful way that Muretz represents this feeling, makes his work more subtle and perhaps also more affecting than his earlier work.
When Mauro speaks about this collection, he really seems to be the embodiment of his paintings: bowling you over by eloquently, minimally and effortlessly explaining something so complex and human. He explains that the paintings portray a kind of loneliness which "is a feeling that we all have, a thought in the back of our minds which follows us. And it doesn’t allow us to fully live in the moment.” Manifesting this in his new collection, Mauro has represented something more enduring than the kind of loneliness that evokes tears and love songs: instead, an ever present kind of loneliness seeps through his images. “We rarely share those thoughts. We keep it for ourselves. It makes us lonely in that sense, even when we’re surrounded by a crowd. Sometimes we ignore it, but it’s there always following us. These drawings are about that.”
“The subject is complex and that’s why I find the need to approach it with minimalistic graphics.”
The kind of work which is truly powerful for an audience is work which allows the audience to find something with which they identify in the lines and curves in front of them. Muretz uses his art form to create something of a cavity into which anyone can crawl and see themselves in glorious 2D. Art which remains this mouldable by the individual who consumes it, is art which has the potential to illustrate something as ever-changing as humanity itself. It gives us a chance to represent the things within our psyche that we remain unable to express in other mediums. The scenes and characters in this collection of work seem to usher the viewer to shed the weight of planet earth which rests on their shoulders, and follow his characters into the world of the bizarre within themselves.
When talking about this extra-terrestrial quality, Mauro comments “I think that painting can be a way to explain these ‘other wordly’ experiences. The subject is complex and that’s why I find the need to approach it with minimalistic graphics. In this case less in more because you leave most of the work for the interpretation of the viewer.” The paintings are therefore something which need to be seen and absorbed in person. They are works which grow with the viewer, and have something new to be discovered with each viewing, and with each passing season of introspection.
Muretz is a well-oiled machine creating incredibly feeling paintings. While this creates a well- lubricated opportunity for the viewer to be fully absorbed by the subject matter, one can’t help but wonder how many tries it must take to achieve this level of sophistication. “Sometimes it’s really straightforward, the design comes naturally.” Mauro explains “But not always. It’s common for me to spend days struggling on an idea that looks like only a couple minutes work when it’s ready.”
“In life I feel like there’s always some kind of force oppressing us out there. I feel I have to be constantly fighting against it.”
This is not an artist who thinks within the two dimensional limitations of systems, such as that of the caricatural education system available to most young artists. Mauro was expelled from school aged 14; cast out for the thing which defined him, for his drawing. “Being expelled from school was just a consequence of what I already was, even at 14years old. A bit rebellious and playful as many other kids around me; but I channelled this into my drawings rather than getting into fights or other kinds of trouble.” Although it is easy to imagine that this was a form of breaking free from a system; Mauro feels he was simply never a part of it to begin with. The result was an education in battling the first of many oppressions which he faces as a human, and as an artist. “Maybe I felt freed in that moment but after that came another barrier, and another, and so on. In life I feel like there’s always some kind of force oppressing us out there. I feel I have to be constantly fighting against it. In the end these restrictions turn out to be positive. Like a force pushing down a spring before it snaps free and jumps up.”
Viewing the work of Muretz is playful practice in effortless introspection for thinking humans. It needs feeling, it needs experiencing, it needs tasting. Immerse yourself in his works and let them fester in your being. There’s as much to gain from these creations as there is to gain from human beings, and they will evoke something new for everyone who comes across them. It’s as subtle as it is graphic, as complex as it is simple. These are paintings which grow and evolve with their audience.
Words By Meg Ellis