‘Gamboa Seasons’ mural comes to La Jolla

Beatriz Milhazes’ mural, "Gamboa Seasons in La Jolla," is now installed at 1111 Prospect St.
(Elisabeth Frausto)

Brazilian artist Beatriz Milhazes, known for her large-scale, vibrant paintings, brought her interpretation of the four seasons to The Village with “Gamboa Seasons in La Jolla” – the latest in the Murals of La Jolla public art program.

Installed July 15 at the back of the building located at 1111 Prospect St., the newest mural uses geometric abstraction in different panels to represent spring, summer, fall and winter.

“The Gamboa Seasons in La Jolla mural is based on a reproduction of four paintings I developed for my solo exhibition at Fondation Beyeler [Museum in] Switzerland. We want to keep the same feeling as the original works that were hanging at the Museum wall. Gamboa Seasons is the title of this paintings’ polyptych (painting divided into sections) and they are now visiting La Jolla,” Milhazes told La Jolla Light, via email from Brazil. “I was engaged with the theme of the four seasons which has been historically inspiring for many artists for centuries.”

But, just like in La Jolla, where the annual temperature averages in the 60s and 70s, “I realized that the seasons in Rio de Janeiro, the city I was born and grew up and still work and live in, does not see strong changes - it is more about different kinds of warm temperatures,” she said.

Muralist Beatriz Milhazes

Milhazes created each panel based on the characteristics of these seasons. “Summer is the longest sunny schedule with intense high temperatures that explode the natural lights. Spring is softer and about tropical greens and flowers. Autumn is the most beautiful light, the landscapes are bright with clear silhouettes, and nice temperatures. Winter is the strange when it arrives, not too cold but more cloudy and rainy times.”

She added, “My images are vibrant, with a color contrast structure, but very detailed at same time. We were very concerned to have the best resolution we could to invite the viewers to stop by and look attentive to the compositions. It is a mathematical dream!”

Her graphic illustrations were a welcomed addition to the Murals of La Jolla program. “We are thrilled to have Beatriz Milhazes and her exuberant work as part of La Jolla’s landscape,” said Murals of La Jolla executive director Lynda Forsha. “The committee unanimously agreed that we would be incredibly fortunate to work with this phenomenal artist, whose bold, vibrant, and dynamic work is ideal for our project in every way.”

Forsha added, “Beatriz is renowned for her highly charged paintings and collages which are often inspired by nature, so the committee loved the idea of bringing an explosion of color and energy to this spectacular site. Her mural brings stunning and optimistic imagery at a time when we can all respond to something joyful and uplifting and these spectacular depictions of the seasons in Rio de Janeiro capture the essence and reassuring rhythm of nature.”

The Murals of La Jolla program was founded by the La Jolla Community Foundation and is now a project of the Athenaeum. The goal of the mural project is to enhance the civic character of the community by commissioning public art projects on private property throughout La Jolla. The Murals of La Jolla Art Advisory Committee is composed of the heads of the major visual arts organizations who commission artists to propose the intervention of an image on specific walls on privately owned buildings. Each work is on view for a minimum of two years and has been funded by private donations.

As to participating in the Murals of La Jolla program, Milhazes said, “I think it is a meaningful program. It takes art to a very broad audience that probably hasn’t been often exposed to it. Museums, art galleries and art institutions should be more and more connected with education. Public art is a strong way to start this dialogue between art and education, as part of people’s lives. We need more and more art in our lives. I don’t believe that art can transform the world, but it can transform people, and people can transform the world!”

In her worldwide exhibitions, Milhazes’ work draws from both Latin American and European traditions. Citing opera, classical, and popular Brazilian music as influences, her style is imbued with an upbeat energy within the stripes, lines, circular forms, and rays scattered throughout her compositions, according to an artist statement.

“I feel really happy to know that my work could explore different media, sites and ways to be shown and meet people,” she said. “My studio practice is a very lonely one, but it means a lot to me that the work communicates with different cultures and people.”◆