For her first solo exhibition in Los Angeles, Mariana Oushiro will present new paintings and works on paper at the Old Santa Monica Post Office. In this new body of work, Oushiro harnesses surface tension to balance swirling geometrical forms with a newly lush palette. Oushiro’s large-scale paintings tap into a reservoir of emotions by the sheer force of bodily effort – the reaching, stretching, moving – required to make them. The paintings in Mariana Oushiro: The Postcard demonstrate the artist’s journey of self-exploration.
On view from February 16 through April 2, 2023, Mariana Oushiro: The Postcard will be the Brazil-born, New York-based artist’s second exhibition with Vito Schnabel Gallery.
With this exhibition, Oushiro pays homage to the post offices of the past and present, places that unite people from all over the world through correspondence. The works in The Postcard are inspired by the classic Art Deco features of the historic 1938 Post Office, a striking example of the Federal New Deal era Public Works Administration (PWA) modern architecture, including the industrial beams, exposed walls, and high ceilings.
The exhibition takes its name from a collection of found vintage postcards, dating from around the Second World War and postmarked as having passed through Santa Monica. Oushiro has drawn inspiration from this source material– musing over the wistful correspondences they bear to loved ones, reflecting on the messages inscribed on the versos, and reflecting upon the iconic Los Angeles landscapes framed on the cards’ fronts within a white border. Thus her Postcard paintings coalesce her responses to these objects and the backstories they suggest, uniting the elemental, somatic and metaphysical. Her new works emerge full-bodied and visceral, robust in their mark-making and illustriously tactile.
Introducing tape and adding strips of raw canvas onto the surface of her paintings, Oushiro creates a gridded structure of horizontal and vertical lines. Areas of lush impasto develop into a crust-like surface, which once scraped away reveal gouged, flaking membranes of paint, glimpses of the light that Oushiro searches for while building up her canvases.
In the works on view in The Postcard, Oushiro’s familiar torqued lines and curves become even more active and urgent. They pivot, lurch, and surge through spatial compositions that take on a new degree of density in the vast scale of her pictorial fields. Sweeping swaths of textured pigment occupy space that in the past was left barren. Working and pushing charcoal, oil, raw pigments and soft pastels across the picture plane, Oushiro uses her hands, brushes and scrapers to move these mediums around, creating then excavating layers of color. Through this process, Oushiro explains, her painting practice is “moving away from operating on pure instinct toward a more conscious mode of construction. The only way to do this is to dive through every emotion, every idea and contradictory tension, until the moment I find something that is balanced.”
The new body of work at the Old Santa Monica Post Office reflects Oushiro’s personal experiences with love, grief, and catharsis. She has left behind the cosmological references conjured in previous Supernova paintings, to shed light on the powerful internal relationships of color, line and composition that draw inspiration from the earthly limits of the horizon and natural landscapes around us and within us. The artist’s Space Scape paintings (2022) in the exhibition evidence this shift. Marked with the letter ‘B’, The Tide Rising (2022) heralds a more discernible horizontal and vertical structuring that has begun to appear in her work. The waves of her gestures are captured in calligraphic elements and the emblem of a blazing yellow sun, a new message of light.
About the artist
Mariana Oushiro was born in 1992 in São Gotardo, Minas Gerais, Brazil. She received her B.F.A at Faculdade Santa Marcelina in São Paulo, Brazil before moving to New York to attend the Art Students League of New York. Oushiro lives and works in New York.