At the start of 2023 Melbourne’s contemporary art gallery prepared for the first solo exhibition of the year - Mar Dentro by Sydney artist Eduardo Santos.
OTOMYS: The title is strong and intriguing, does it pay homage in some way to your Brazilian heritage?
Eduardo Santos: The title for this exhibition is Mar Dentro, which is Portuguese for ‘Sea Within’. I have a great connection and respect for the ocean and in my art I explore its energy; the power, calmness and mystery. A storm may rage above with waves crashing against the surface, but the world beneath is calm and still, imbued with a constant tranquility. Mar Dentro is an exploration of the internal oceans within us, it explores the duplicity of the oceans, both in its physical and emotional state. Mar Dentro was created at a time when I had found a revitalised perspective on life, I emerged from a time of angst and felt stronger and more positive as a result. My work for Mar Dentro reflects the energy of new found optimism.
OTOMYS: In Brazil there is an acute sensitivity to levels of consciousness and spiritual energy. Over the years we have worked with you we are always inspired by your high levels of sensitivity and intuition. You don't paint 'en plein air' to captivate what you see - but rather within your studio, you paint what you think and feel.
Eduardo Santos: Oceans are an integral part of who I am. Like the ocean we all hold complex emotional layers, we are a sea of mysteries and curiosities. Yes, these complexities within determine my composition. When I was young, I spent most of my childhood close to the water in Brazil. My grandfather was a fisherman and I have clear memories of occupying my time while he was fishing; playing with clay, sand, water, rocks, creating toys out of whatever I could find. However on the other side of this relationship with the ocean, I was 6 when I almost drowned and a stranger brought me back to consciousness. From an early age I have respected the ocean and am drawn to it’s ongoing conversations with and within me.
OTOMYS: Your smaller monochromatic paintings are a change from your usual larger scale paintings - they are magnificent as a series and each one holds it’s own story.
Eduardo Santos: My work is always evolving, just as the alchemy of the paints and other liquids and materials on the canvas keep changing - with these small paintings I have used a great linen and played with the textures of the cloth and the mixed pigment, allowing them to integrate and ensure each piece is enchanting and unique.
OTOMYS: Your limited edition photographic works on photo-metallic paper offers your practice such diversity, this smooth luxurious surface is the counter opposite to your highly textured painted surfaces.
Eduardo Santos: Photography was my entry into art, I have always enjoyed landscape photography and it offers me a break from painting. In each of these works there are photographs of the beach - 012 WL and 05BL include photographs taken recently of the beach where my mother lives in Brazil.
OTOMYS: Thank you for your powerful and honest work, Mar Dentro is a thought provoking and powerful body of work.
Eduardo Santos: Thank You, I hope the viewer is touched by the intention of Mar Dentro.
February 1, 2023