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Circumnavigation | A Journey Through Print

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Circumnavigation | A Journey Through Print

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Ana Maria Pacheco

For every major sculpture Ana Maria Pacheco produces there is a considerable body of work on paper, mainly prints, representing what she describes as her ‘circumnavigation’. In this process she explores situations, relationships, images and themes that feed into the sculpture, an early example being this series of ten drypoints, ‘Terra Ignota’. In these powerfully imaginative works, passengers perform the gamut of human behaviours on boats that are stranded on stilts or swinging in mid-air.

As is always the case in Pacheco’s work the completed sculpture, 'The Longest Journey', presents a monumental distillation of these “circumnavigations”. Ten figures are adrift on a boat without power or crew. The adults in the stern are questioning or contemplative; the five huge, white-robed figures in the prow more watchful of the boat’s course and its passengers. A young child takes keenest interest of all, a lookout precariously perched on a stool amidships, linking the two groups. Where is this 32 foot Broads cruiser headed? Is this the longest journey we all undertake?

Pacheco’s ‘circumnavigations’ in print are executed with all the skill and imagination of a major figure in contemporary printmaking.

Robert Bush, 2020

Image: Ana Maria Pacheco, Terra Ignota 2, drypoint (detail)

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. . . the precarious condition of the human soul in this life caught in the conflict between the forces of light and dark, the daemonic and the sacred, is central to [Pacheco’s] work, frequently conveyed with the chiaroscuro and pathos of Baroque imagery. Humans struggle against irresistible forces pulling them into a dark underworld of annihilation. A seafarer stranded in a small boat and tied to a mast is visited by an angel, a messenger of the divine, whose torch illuminates his darkness, ‘Terra Ignota 6’. The numinous light which he sheds on the imprisoned figure evokes a promise that he will be delivered from his solitude and blindness. In another drypoint of the same series, ‘Terra Ignota 3’, a little girl arrives on shore, on the same small boat. She is led by an older woman whose candle gives off a shining white light. In both images it seems a truth unbearable to behold is at stake. The seafarer cannot see or act on what he sees, while the little girl raises her hand in astonishment at what the strange mystical light reveals.

-Vivian Schelling, 1994. Cultural Historian and Lecturer

Ana Maria Pacheco

Terra Ignota 1.

Plate 32.5 x 25.4 cm

Drypoint

Ana Maria Pacheco

Terra Ignota 2.

Plate 32.5 x 25.4 cm.

Drypoint

CONTEXT 1 Pratt- The Longest Journey_099

Ana Maria Pacheco: The Longest Journey, 1994. Sculpture, polychrome wood, gold leaf, onyx, acrylic, steel. 320 x 335 x 975 cm. Photo: Salisbury Cathedral (North Transept), 2012

Ana Maria Pacheco

Terra Ignota 3.

Plate 32.5 x 25.4 cm.

Drypoint

Ana Maria Pacheco

Terra Ignota 4.

Plate 32.5 x 25.4 cm.

Drypoint

Ana Maria Pacheco

Terra Ignota 5.

Plate 32.5 x 25.4 cm.

Drypoint

CONTEXT 2 Pratt- The Longest Journey_108

Ana Maria Pacheco: The Longest Journey, 1994 (detail). Sculpture, polychrome wood, gold leaf, onyx, acrylic, steel. 320 x 335 x 975 cm. Photo: Salisbury Cathedral (North Transept), 2012

Ana Maria Pacheco

Terra Ignota 6.

Plate 32.5 x 25.4 cm.

Drypoint

Ana Maria Pacheco

Terra Ignota 7.

Plate 32.5 x 25.4 cm.

Drypoint

CONTEXT 3 Pratt- The Longest Journey_101

Ana Maria Pacheco: The Longest Journey, 1994. Sculpture, polychrome wood, gold leaf, onyx, acrylic, steel. 320 x 335 x 975 cm. Photo: Salisbury Cathedral (North Transept), 2012

Ana Maria Pacheco

Terra Ignota 8.

Plate 32.5 x 25.4 cm.

Drypoint

Ana Maria Pacheco

Terra Ignota 9.

Plate 32.5 x 25.4 cm.

Drypoint

Ana Maria Pacheco

Terra Ignota 10.

Plate 32.5 x 25.4 cm.

Drypoint

Ana Maria Pacheco

Ana Maria Pacheco was born in Brazil. Following degrees in both art and music she went on to complete a postgraduate course in music and education. She taught and lectured for several years in Brazil before leaving for London in 1973 on a British Council Scholarship to the Slade School of Fine Art. Since 1973 she has lived and worked in England.

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email: pca@prattcontemporaryart.co.uk