Beatriz Milhazes


I love, love, love Beatriz Milhazes!

Her style is distinct and you can tell a Milhazes by looking at it. I love the sense of movement, the vibrant colors, geometric shapes and repetition of patterns.  It’s these simple elements combined into something complex and alive.  I’m no Milhazes, but I do feel that I can relate to her work in that I am drawn to vibrant colors and like having a sense of movement.

What I really admire and take away from Milhazes is that she takes her theme and explores it in various mediums  – she paints in acrylics, makes collages incorporating newsprint, paints murals, creates ceramic floors, window installations, screenprints, makes mobiles and has created sets for dance productions.

I like the idea of taking something and seeing how many different places you can take it.  It is interesting to see how it evolves or changes between mediums.  Here is an interesting video from from an exhibit she had in February of this year in Switzerland.  I was awestruck when I saw the sculpture/mobile.  She takes her ideas, motifs, themes and makes them real.  It’s like experiencing the painting as a living thing, a world in itself made tangible.  Even when she is using the same medium, like painting, it is the same thing made new.

I sometimes feel like I am just repeating myself when I paint.   I find myself making the same swirly
motif over and over – I sometimes think that it is fear from moving away from what you know.  With her work I can see that it can be more like what O’Keefe did with her flowers.  O’Keefe kept abstracting, trying to get to the essence of the flowers.  Maybe this is not Milhazes’ intention, but what I take away is that you can explore the same things without repeating yourself.  You can make an idea or motif new by seeing what happens when you make it three dimensional, the setting of another work or what happens when natural light becomes an element in your work your work.  So instead of thinking that I have to abandon what I think is my “style”, maybe I just have to explore it in a new way – expand on what it is.

If you’re interested in seeing more of this great artist, you can go to Facebook or the Durham Press Blog.