Elizabeth Fonseca and Gilberto Paim are both born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in 1957. They have been professional ceramists since 1980 and live and work in Nova Friburgo, 150 km from the city of Rio de Janeiro in the Serra do Mar mountains. Fonseca and Paim are pioneers in the movement to renovate Brazilian pottery. Their works are clearly recognisable by their confident control of the material, their simplistic, elegant forms and their minimal variation in terms of colour pallet. Their vases, plates and bowls explore the four elements of nature: earth, air, wind and fire.

Contrasts between the internal space and the external space; between visual perception and tactile perception; between daily existence and ritual existence. Elizabeth and Gilberto reformulate these oppositions when creating utensils and/or contemplative objects that are very much of our time: simple and mysterious.

The two artists seek the balance and simplicity of the form. The main material used is porcelain clay, whose mineral and luminous beauty is clearly seen in the handcrafted work showing careful attention to detail and constantly being renewed. The simplicity of the forms fulfils a very modern desire for authenticity, although it reveals a very singular understanding of the history. The research into colour, graphics and texture is unceasing. The ornamental theme of the weave, inspired in textiles and basket-making, is almost always present, either with clarity and geometry, or in a freer or more irregular way. Elizabeth and Gilberto share materials, techniques and researches but each one develops his/her own artistic language.

Selected Exhibitions

Artists in Residency, Saint Quentin la Poterie, France

100% Brasil, Università Degli Studi di Milano, Milan, Italy

3 X Design, Jockey Club, São Paulo, Brazil

Recent Ceramics, Correios Cultural Center, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

From the margin to the edge - Brazilian Art and Design in the 21st Century, Somerset House London, UK

Marianne Heller Gallery, Heidelberg, Germany

Beaux Arts Bath Gallery, UK

Espasso Gallery, New York and Los Angeles, USA

Masters of Ceramics, Correios Cultural Center, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Brazilian Ceramics, Constructing a Language, Brazilian-British Cultural Center, São Paulo, Brazil

The New Presence of Ceramics, Paço Imperial, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Ceramics and the Horla (individual show by Gilberto Paim), Museum of Modern Art, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil