Kboco is a Brazilian artist with his first New York solo show opening tonight at Lu Magnus in the Lower East Side. Based in São Paulo, Kboco mixes his formal art school education with graffiti life experience. “Efeito Esquimó”, translated from Portuguese into English, as Eskimo Effect is a mural-based installation, highlighting canvassed works throughout. The show’s name comes from the process in which the artist layers by whitewashing between hues of color with white spray paint to produce a veiled effect. The result is a frosted hieroglyph mural steeped in the style of graffiti and street art slathering with a kiss of art deco modernity in eight new paintings for sale. The symbols in Eskimo Effect are at once esoteric and familiar in form.
The mural covers the entire gallery with figures of Orientalism and pre-Columbian symbolism in swirls and loops reminiscent of artwork found in pyramids in both Egypt and Central America. Kboco’s style is a mix of calligraphy, Moorish tile work, and street art wheat-pasting to produce an overall commentary on globalization and urban decay with muted earth tones inspired by the artist’s state of Goiânia and his recent visit to Chapada dos Veadeiros National Park. This national park is full of white water rapids and waterfalls, where water forcefully surges as white spattering and pouring. Besides the importance of the color white in Eskimo Effect, there is pointed geometry and stylized totem poles in ochre, olive, gold, grey, and Tiffany blue alongside humorous depictions of Kboco’s everyday life tendencies like the cartoonish camels from the cigarette brand variety, and the repeated cup and saucer for coffee. There is the surprise found object pasted within the puzzle of the mural: a sticker, newspaper cutout or advertisement, also whitewashed and layered to add to the 10-coats of chaotic uniformity. The textured symbols and colors are meant to reflect abandoned streets or billboards where a plethora of messages exist together over a period of time, torn, weathered, and sometimes forgotten.
Within the churned mural messages are thick black-paint frames that direct the viewer in and out of varied states of focus from one side of the room to the other. The individual painted canvases each depict a state of order in linear symmetry harkening Cubism and Modernism, in simple shapes of circles, triangles, and rectangles with the same earthen tones of the mural. Themes of order and chaos, romanticism and history, nostalgia and grit are alive and venerated in the works of Eskimo Effect. The mixed media, drippy affect, and nod to antiquity with contemporary renderings is much in line with New York artists Jose Parla’s Reading Through Seeing works of repetitive calligraphic strokes and Doze Green’s amorphous communities of ancient people and thought bubbles. With Eskimo Effect, Kboco joins this contemporary urban art movement but casts the scene with his own Brazilian natural wonders and reflective palette. Eskimo Effect shows through October 23rd.