The name Gabriela Machado has given to the set of sculptures exhibited at Museu de Arte do Rio – Things that fit in my hand – certainly ratifies her manual action of shaping the over 200 ceramic pieces produced in the last two years. But alongside this immediate sense of ratification, there are other meanings that may be less evident but are nonetheless essential, in that they underpin the connections running through her working process.
The field of semantic possibilities suggested by the title, Things that fit in my hand, can be expanded beyond the scale of the hands that molded these things. It is here, where hands, with their gestures, have expanded what literally once fitted into them, that the poetic kernel of the artist’s work lies and thus the sense of each individual piece. According to Reynaldo Roels Jr.”Machado’s work begins with the gesture, marking on the paper a sudden, instant direction. Not instinctively, but mindfully, despite being automated. But there is more: this is just the beginning of the process, with which we only need to have partial contact. This is where the work really begins”.
Machado’s entire body of work fits into the gesture: the expansive gesture that produced her prints, drawings, and paintings (as expressed in the large formats characteristic of her best-known work) and equally the more contained gesture of her molded works today.
Around two years ago, Gabriela Machado’s painting was compelled to expand beyond its two-dimensional limits. Porcelain seemed to her the best way of leaving behind the pictorial plane, since it contains the same principles that fueled her pictorial output: color, plasticity, and process. When examined in their poetic (gestural) essence, these very principles indicate the tenuous threshold that conventionally sets painting apart from sculpture.