José Maria Ribeiro’s paintings are located in that fine line between the impressionism and the realism. It is soft lines as his personality, which projects on the canvas what his eyes capture with a sensitive and revealing lens. It can be a landscape, or a flower vase, or the people's face, or a colonial roof, even a Minas Gerais’s Notre-dame.
I met Zé in the seventies when he was beginning to tread the deflections of the arts. He came to the Guignard Gallery recommended by so many, like: Álvaro Apocalypse, Yara Tupynambá, Jarbas Juarez, Wilde Lacerda, etc. We held there his first exhibition and we met again 30 years later, at the small Gallery of the Teatro da Cidade. His paintings have matured, like him, stricter, without the so many frenzied colors of the youth, but with the firmness accomplished in years of practice.
I am wondering how his small/big world should be, surrounded by Fatinha and the children, all breathing art in that house in Lagoa Santa, where the family pictures are mixed in the walls and the sculptures stands from the tables and corners.
Simple, as it is all the great artists, José Maria Ribeiro is one of the best Brazilian painters, with who I have the pleasure to be acquainted, even though we rarely see each other. But I am always amazed when entering in a house and my eyes land on his picture installed in my host's wall. And then, there is always somebody telling a history of how that Zé Maria’s picture got there, bought in such gallery or in the artist's house. As the art has that affective relationship with who appropriates it.
And I calmly breathe as I know for a fact, that I am in Minas Gerais and through the Zé's generous and agile hands, will still come lots of paintings and occasionally, I will be able to see it in some friends' houses. It brings me an enormous happiness to know that the artist never stop, keeps going ahead obstinately, staining the world with his inks and coloring the people's life.
Pedro Paulo Cava / 2008