Dan Chill

Paulina Pinsky (nee Flamenbaum) was born on February 12, 1948 to Holocaust survivors whose families – spouses and children, included – had been murdered by the Nazis. She had a peripatetic childhood, moving from Germany to Israel, Italy and Bolivia, before finally settling in Brazil. ln 1967, Paulina spent a year at Kibbutz Brur Chayil, and, after her marriage (in Sao Paulo in 1970) to Moises Pinsky, spent several years studying and teaching in Israel, before returning to Brazil, where she has been living to this day.

In 1988, after having spent many years as an English teacher and an interior designer, Paulina turned to painting for emotional and spiritual fulfillment. Being without training, she began painting simple scenes in a refreshingly innocent, childlike manner, thereby entering the magical world of naïve art and dramatically changing her life – and ours – forever.

I was first introduced to Paulina’s engaging artworks in 1991, at Galerie Jacques Ardies in Sao Paulo, and was immediately captivated by her uniquely creative and personal style, whimsical humor and delicious innovation . Just as Paulina’s itinerant childhood knew no geographical boundaries, her inimitable approach to painting tolerates no physical constraints – canvas size or otherwise. She achieves dimension and depth through indescribably delectable frames and imaginative objects (such as earrings, clothespins and string) affixed to the work.

Paulina no doubt rejoices in the “white time,” the moments before starting to paint, when the canvas is pristine and the options limitless. Of course, by then, she has discovered the frame that will give direction to – but will never place limits upon – the fertile figments of her imagination. And what an imagination! Using vibrant colors, and applying varied patterns and textures, Paulina puts aside her reserved, unassuming personality and unleashes her secret world of ethereal dreams, portraying a familiar scene – her beach, her park, her dog – not necessarily as it is but as it ideally might be.

Dipping brush in her heart with every stroke, Paulina warms us with loving portrayals of Sabbath meals (“From Generation to Generation”) and Passover feasts (“Fragment With Seder”) and off-beat portrayals of sporting events (“Football Country”) and quasi-religious celebrations (“Carnaval Country”). She also challenges us with objects or subjects “out of synch” – a carpet forming the canopy of a four-poster bed (“Carpet Canopy”); the vast sea insinuating itself into an idyllic living room (“Watching Boats”); the jeweled city of Jerusalem marred by creeping modernity (“My Jerusalem Doesn’t Live Here Any More”). Paulina’s world is at once intimate and sublime – filled with nudes and Noahs, foods and boas.

Paulina puts to special use old frames and discarded wooden substrates. The images applied to these objects give “volume” to her work, presenting common subjects in a new light and a distinctively personal perspective. Her use of carpets adds to this “volume,” while providing texture and warmth to her oeuvres. And all these tools allow us to see beyond the canvas of Paulina’s life, and to explore the recesses of her heart and soul. ln Paulina Pinsky – an artist indelibly influenced by her European origins and Jewish traditions – we are confronted with a Brazilian naif like none other. Her warm and loving universe inspires us; her unbridled imagination intrigues us; her engaging humor enchants us; her charming creations delight uso. GINA Gallery is therefore proud to have this opportunity to share with you Paulina Pinsky’s remarkable artworks in this wondrous onewoman exhibition .

Dan Chill, October 2004,
GINA Gallery of International Naïve Art