About this artwork
Wanda Pimentel emerged as an important young artist within Brazil’s 1960s New Figuration movement. This was a Pop Art–inflected turn to representational painting as a form of sardonic commentary on and resistance to a number of forces—a dictatorial government, the rise of consumer culture in parallel with a rise in urban poverty, and, in Pimentel’s case specifically, the stereotypes and constraints imposed on women by a patriarchal society.
Pimentel began her decade-long Involvement Series around 1965; as she put it a few years later, “My studio is in my bedroom. Everything has to be very neat… . I work alone. I think my issues are the issues of our time: the lack of perspective for people, their alienation. The saddest thing is for people to be dominated by things.” Rendered in a vivid but reduced palette and a flat, graphic style, these early works hint at intimate, mundane scenes. They depict domestic objects in enigmatic, compressed interiors and suggest acts of corresponding domestic labor, always implying—if not always representing—a woman’s body. When pictured, this body is fragmented—a leg or a pair of feet rather than a fully legible form. In this 1968 canvas, for example, a pair of feet peek out from below the horizon-like line of a red ironing board. The owner of these feet is otherwise only indicated by a rack of blouses and by the ready iron: the trappings of stereotyped female labor and identity.
- Wanda Pimentel
- Involvement Series
- Made 1968
- Vinyl on canvas
- 130 × 98 cm (51 1/5 × 38 3/5 in.)
- Through prior purchase from the Mary and Leigh Block Fund