The work of Ana Manso is ingrained deeply in the medium of painting, making the canvas or raw wall surface a place of encounter between the real world and the imaginary. Manso’s studio experiences with primary materials such as ceramic, pigments, and other earth-based components have gradually introduced a new materiality into her paintings. Despite remaining faithful to oil paint as a major component of her paintings, her works have become earthlier and more organic, freeing the artist’s painterly gesture and sense of composition, while disclosing a ritualistic aspect characteristic of her practice. The ritual here is not only the act of painting but also the process of stretching and treating the canvas, creating an imaginary choreography, which establishes proximity between the body and the painterly surface. Free of structure, order, and rationale, Manso uses the language of abstraction and color, where the resemblance of forms, driven by chance, is coincidental and uninviting to interpretation, favoring instead a sense of spirituality and mystery, thus escaping modes of everyday life. A new verticality characteristic for the artist’s recent group of works, reminiscent of gothic windows, sets aside the horizontal picture plane, instead drawing the eye high up and letting it wander through fields of deep color and areas of light, all led by the dynamic and unpredictable movement of her brushstroke.
The work of Ana Manso has been exhibited at Museu Serralves, Porto, Portugal; FUTURA Centre for Contemporary Art, Prague; Spike Island, Bristol; Mudam Luxembourg, Luxembourg; Matadero Madrid, Madrid; Museo Nazionale di Capodimonte, Naples; Fondazione Rivolidue, Milan; or Museu da Electricidade, Lisbon; among others. Her works are part of the collection of Museu Serralves, Porto, Portugal; Museu de Arte Contemporânea de Elvas, Elvas, Portugal; or the Câmara Municipal de Lisboa, Lisbon; among others.