Salvagem is a Portuguese word that can be loosely translated as jungle/free/woodland/primitive et al. 

The artist was born in Portuguese West Africa, now Angola, from where, prior to the outbreak of the Colonial Wars, she and her family returned to Portugal and settled there. It was here she attended school, excelling in arts, and then completing her training as a nurse in the U.K.

She worked in the NHS hospitals until her recent retirement, when she made her home in the North East of England, seeking a quieter life among friends, both old and new. But life was not to be quite what she has expected with the outbreak of the Covid 19 Pandemic.

It was during this time Maria’s interest in art was reignited. It had always been her dream to be an artist, but like so many, her family and her work had to come first. Now, the new life of Lockdowns, Self-Isolation and Bubbles gave her the time and freedom to fulfil her dream. This took her into the world of experimental abstract art with its freedom and spontaneity, allowing a non-representational expression of the creative unconsciousness, using colour and texture in a variety of techniques.

Deciding to work in acrylic, it was not long before she was discovering her own experimental methods and techniques in the application of paint to canvas. There was to be no dilution of the paint, applying a base colour directly on to the canvas and then, using a variety of tools to create texture, interspersed with almost transparent areas and intricate detailing. The works she produced, ‘just came’ as she put it. There is no image in mind other than a desire to do ‘something’ with the canvas and the palette of colours she has chosen. The lack of deliberate intention, perhaps, produces a visual representation of memories, or maybe not!

Unusually, she works with the canvas on the floor, whilst she stands above it. For her, the view she has looking down on to the work produces a more intimate relationship with the canvas and the paint, allowing her to manipulate colours and shades to her satisfaction. The technique allows her to fully express her creative unconsciousness with the rapid, dynamic and exuberant application of paint creating volume, texture and depth. There is also a delicate imagery among the fluid shapes, producing areas of quiet, almost meditative imagery.

The detailing, not always immediately obvious at first sight, is achieved with the use of techniques such as dabbing, sgraffito, finger painting, in fact using anything that will bring about the desired effect. Her work is characterised by a brilliant use of colour and then, often hidden, details. She knows when a painting is finished because ‘it tells her’. Then it is complete.

Both for her, and the viewer, the works are an adventure into an unknown world, it is about providing an intangible and emotional experience – different for every individual. Let each painting reach out to you, as in the words of one of the leading figures of the Abstract Expressionism, Ashile Gorky:

“Abstraction allows us to see with our own minds

what we cannot see physically without eyes.

It is the emancipation of the mind.

An exploration into unknown areas”