HGTX Studio

Artwork by Hugo Teixeira

Dog Days on the Chaparral (2020)

From childhood, one imagines, these landscapes are cut, like those boxes to which perfectly sized shoes never return, relegating the three-dimensional cardboard-walled containers and their covers to school projects. The dioramas built into those boxes with paper and glue asked to be taken for real. Just as real as Hugo Teixeira’s Dog Days of Chaparral stands tall before me. I am taken in by the playful seriousness of what I encounter, even in its appearance in the installation image. Maybe the inspiration arose from biology class, how we dissected frogs, or from the study of contour maps, or from those Hollywood Westerns facades with barroom doors swinging into nothing on the other side. From wherever the idea derived, the piece (part of a series) contains a fresh boldness, almost bravado, in the way it ascends to the sky, echoing the experientiality of mountainous terrains beautifully. We go up and we come down only to climb higher still. Hugo Teixeira, constructs a new way to consider the essence of a landscape, transforming it into stage scenery props, perhaps to say soon enough that may be the only way to preserve what it once looked like. Amidst the sculptural structure (the clamps evoking its impermanence) I can see the horizonless, two- dimensional Sonoran deserts of Arizona flattened in the 1940s by Frederick Sommer, the foothills of Italy stacked upon each other through the telephoto lenses of Mario Giacomelli a decade later, or the string-tied Bermuda triangle (1975) on a beach from the late John Pfahl as much as the time-specific images by Watkins, Weston, and Adams floating in the panoramas of Mark Klett (2000+). To these visions Hugo Teixeira’s approach to the landscape offers exciting new possibilities to stretch the genre yet again, expressing the magnificence and plight of the planet upon which we all live.

© Arno Rafael Minkkinen, 2020

Download my thesis, Dog Days on the Chaparral, to read more.