Exhibition Run: 10 February 2002 - Saturday 6 April 2002

Private View: Saturday 9 February 2002, 8:00PM - 10:00PM

Curated by Polly Staple

“Our garden was large and beautiful as that garden in the Bible – the tree of life grew there. But it had gone wild. The paths were overgrown and a smell of dead flowers mixed with the fresh living smell. Underneath the tree ferns, tall as forest tree ferns, the light was green. Orchids flourished out of reach or for some reason not to be touched.” – Jean Rhys Wide Sargasso Sea

For her solo exhibition at Cubitt, London, Melanie Carvalho presents a selection of her large-scale watercolour and photographic collages alongside a collaborative painting project OEDescribe a Landscape∂. For this project Carvalho worked with a range of people (artists, friends, school children, Asian women∂s groups) posing the question, “Describe the landscape that represents your idea of home?”. According to Carvalho, “the way in which people responded was incredibly varied, a mixture of writing and drawing. Some responded very abstractly. There were interiors as well as exteriors; dreams; barely-there pencil drawings and a five page detailed manuscript. There was a lot of fantasy. One person described living in a filing cabinet. Another described flying through brain-clouds.” Recording the written and visual responses Carvalho then interpreted these as a series of over 100 small oil paintings. The resulting paintings are romantic landscapes in a traditional medium, constructed by Carvalho through another’s imagination.

At Cubitt the paintings are hung together to create a salon of imaginary landscapes. Both the ‘landscape’ project and the collages engage with Carvalho’s oscillating practice as an artist and her role as a curator; the idea of the unique artwork and the collaborative nature of a group project; the relationship between the written word and the visual image; painting and photography; landscape and genre painting; ideas of ‘home’, exoticism and fantasy. To coincide with her exhibition at Cubitt and to complete the project, Carvalho is publishing the original descriptions in a limited edition booklet.

Melanie Carvalho graduated from the Royal College of Art in 1997 and was awarded a scholarship at the British School in Rome the same year; she has participated in many national and international group shows and co-curated (with John Maclean) ‘The Poster Show’ at Gavin Brown’s Enterprise, New York and Cabinet, London 2000. This is Carvalho’s first solo exhibition.

Melanie Carvalho gave a talk about her work at Cubitt on Saturday 2 March 2002 at 4pm.