Alice Quaresma

Alice Quaresma

Hi Alice! First, can you tell me about yourself?

My name is Alice Quaresma, I am 31 years old, I am originally from Brazil (Rio de Janeiro) but for the past 9 years I have been based in Brooklyn, NY, where I have my studio. I got my BFA from Central Saint Martins School of Art and Design (London, UK) in 2007, and in 2009 I got my Master degree in Fine Art with focus in photography from Pratt Institute (Brooklyn, NY).

What first interested you in making art?

Working with material, touching things and the process of making anything fascinated me. I love the surprises that arise in the process of making art.

Did you initially pursue photography and then painting, or vice versa?

I first got into art through painting, but it did not take me too long to get into photography.

Both medias are very present in my art practice. I look at photography as the media I am most comfortable with. I allow my photos to be playful, and I let go of any formality that comes with the camera. Most of the time I use painting over my photographs, and my paintings are a way to provoke questions about the qualities of the photos. I am interested in the texture and gesture of the brush stroke, and I paint to break the formality of photography. I am fascinated with the abstract quality that I can achieve with painting.

What did you want to be when you were a child?

An artist, even though I did not know what that meant.

Tell me a bit about your practice! You explore ideas of displacement and movement... where did this interest spring from?

My interest in the idea of displacement started blooming after living abroad for 5 years. I noticed that what fascinated me the most was the feeling of not belonging, the feeling of being displaced. Each day, the way I photograph becomes less planned, and more about first instinct. I am interested in the unconscious mind. So after I started exploring the idea of displacement, I became very intrigued by the physical boundaries of photography. Which led me to start painting over my photographs using paint and other medias (like tape, pencil, oil pastel and markers) in order to bring texture to the flat surface of the photo paper, to break the the edition in each work, and to distance the work from any chronological or descriptive quality. In some images I go further by blurring the shot. I provoke the blurs by walking or running while I am taking the photograph.

Can you tell me a bit about your process?

I have been archiving all my photographs since 2003. I use my images in a non-chronological order. Most likely I will use a photo that I took today in a few years from now. I tend to distance myself from them in order to use them in my work. But it is possible that I use some photographs that are only a few months old.

After I print them, I start making the marks over the work. A lot of the time they are geometric marks; the idea of focusing on geometric lines and shapes is to refer to a Brazilian art movement, called the Neoconcrete movement. Neoconcrete happened in the late 1960’s in Brazil, where artists where exploring geometry in an experimental way to bring sensorial artworks to the public. Some of the leaders of this movement were Lygia Clark and Helio Oiticica.

How do you get started?

Usually a new project starts because another project finished. When I make the decision to start working in a new project, it's because I believe I have something new to add to my work, either in an intellectual level or material-wise. A new project is a gate for new challenges or vision among the main spectrum of “displacement” and the paradox between photography and painting.

Do you work on a series all at once, or individual pieces?

I used to work on a series all at once, but now I have been working on a bigger body of works, that expand through time. So now I don’t complete my work all at once -- it can take years.

What inspires you or motivates you?


To be by the ocean, visiting new places, reading anything from economics to philosophy. I love to read the daily news. Whenever I feel uncomfortable my escape mode is to photograph.

My motivation:

Every opportunity I get is a motivation to achieve my next goal.

What do you consider to be the most difficult or challenging aspect of pursuing an art practice, creatively or professionally?

The inconsistency and the no-rules thing. The subjectivity is its beauty, but at the same time is the biggest challenge in an art career.

What do you think is the most rewarding or exciting aspect of doing what you do?

The process and learning curve -- the possibility to inspire others with my work and meet creative minds.

Is there a moment you consider to be your biggest accomplishment or moment of "success?"

Yes! When I was selected as one of the Foam Talent winners in 2014, when I showed my work in a two person show at SVA this year, when I was considered one of the top 9 emerging artists in Brazil by Artsy, and when my work was published in Brazil, USA, Europe and Japan.

How do you define "success?"

I define success as being able to come to the studio every day, to achieve goals, to impact someone’s life with my work, or when I receive an invitation for my next show.

Do you have any upcoming exhibitions or projects you're working on?

Yes, some of my future shows: I am going to participate in a group show in London in February 2017 curated by Gabriela Davies and I will participate at ArtLima Special Projects in April 2017 curated by Mario Gioia.

Anything else you would like to add?

Just a thank you note. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to be in your blog. I admire the work you have been doing, showing so many innovative body of works from emerging artists.

Find more at alicequaresma.com and on Instagram @alicequaresma!

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