David Zwirner is pleased to present an exhibition of paintings by Brazilian artist Odoteres Ricardo de Ozias (1940–2011). The works on view, all completed between 1996 and 2004, were formerly in the collection of the Museu Internacional de Arte Naïf (MIAN), Rio de Janeiro, which was founded by Lucien Finkelstein, the preeminent collector of Ozias’s work. This is the first time the artist’s work will be shown in the United Kingdom and is among the first solo presentations of his art outside of Brazil.
A self-taught, imaginative artist, Ozias was born and raised in a rural area of the state of Minas Gerais, Brazil. He began painting in earnest when he was in his mid-forties, embracing the practice as an escape from his daily administrative work for the federal railroad company. He later became an evangelical minister and began to concentrate on painting indigenous and biblical narratives. Many of his paintings portray Afro-Brazilian religious rituals in the country landscape where he spent his childhood, while another body of work depicts the famous communal parades of Rio de Janeiro’s annual Carnival. Featuring Ozias’s signature style—simplified yet dynamic compositions characterized by bold colors and repeated patterns—the paintings in this exhibition capture the artist’s interest in spiritual themes of piety and rapture alongside scenes of revelrous celebration—together illustrating Ozias’s distinctive interpretation of the traditions of his native Brazil.