Lucas Arruda: Deserto-Modelo



ISBN: 9781644230411 Category:

Lucas Arruda, Will Chancellor, Barry Schwabsky


The first comprehensive monograph on the work of Brazilian painter Lucas Arruda elucidates the artist’s intricate, meditative compositions.

Arruda has gained critical acclaim for atmospheric paintings that fluctuate between abstraction and figuration, imagination and reality. This monograph presents three groups of works loosely characterized as seascapes, jungles, and monochromes. Collectively titled Deserto-Modelo, they have an ephemeral, transient quality.

Arruda’s intimately sized paintings of seascapes and junglescapes are characterized by their subtle rendition of light. Painted from memory, they are devoid of specific reference points, instead achieving their variety through the depiction of atmospheric conditions. Verging on abstraction, the compositions are grounded by an ever-present, if sometimes faint, horizon line that offers a perception of distance. They appear at once familiar and imaginary. Through his often evocative and textured brushstrokes, Arruda foregrounds the materiality and physicality of paint, while also recalling his genres’ historical associations with the notion of the romantic sublime.

Alongside meticulous color plates and powerful details, author Will Chancellor offers a close reading of the work, raising questions about artifice, thresholds, and perception. Critic Barry Schwabsky unpacks the challenges posed by Arruda’s mysterious painted surfaces. As a whole, this book provides a detailed introduction to the work of a uniquely thoughtful and inventive artist.

Additional information

Weight 862 g
Dimensions 21.8 x 28.6 cm
Publisher name David Zwirner Books
Publication date 15 January 2021
Number of pages 136
Format Hardback
Dimensions 21.8 x 28.6 cm
Weight 862 g

Lucas Arruda's (b. 1983) paintings revolve around a play of light and color and blur the boundaries between mnemonic and imaginative registers. His evocative landscapes are more a product of a state of mind than depictions of particular locales. As he has noted, "The only reason to call my works landscapes is cultural-it's simply that viewers automatically register my format as a landscape, although none of the images can be traced to a geographic location. It's the idea of landscape as a structure, rather than a real place."

Will Chancellor is the author of the novel A Brave Man Seven Storeys Tall (2014) and is currently writing an alternate history of the Soviet space program titled The Meaning of Certain Dreams. His writing has appeared in Bookforum, Lit Hub, The New York Times Magazine, Interview, The White Review, Bomb, The New York Times, and The Brooklyn Rail. He recently introduced C├ęsar Aira's On Contemporary Art (2018) for David Zwirner Books's ekphrasis series.

Barry Schwabsky is an art critic for The Nation and coeditor of international reviews for Artforum. He has published several books of criticism, of which the most recent are The Observer Effect: On Contemporary Painting (2019), Landscape Painting Now: From Pop Abstraction to New Romanticism (2019), and The Perpetual Guest: Art in the Unfinished Present (2016), as well as of poetry. He has taught at Goldsmiths College, Yale University, and the Maryland Institute College of Art, among others, and lives in New York.