When reading the tag next to an artwork at a gallery, the traditional mediums are typically listed: oils, watercolours, acrylic, pencil, and the catch all, “mixed media”. “Tape”, is not something you would expect to see. In Emanuel Pavao’s urban landscape art, tape is exactly what these realist artworks are composed of. Frustrated with traditional materials, Emanuel started to use this utilitarian household material, with its surprising array of colours and textures, to create realistic portrayals of the urban fabric.
The work of Emanuel Pavao has a certain paired down and precise quality about it, reminiscent of early Richard Estes. While Emanuel’s work has a more abstract quality with the flat planes of colour, both artists share the same delight in the careful observation and recording of storefronts and street scenes. Household materials have made appearances before in art –early cubist collages, Duchamp’s ready-mades, Donald Judd’s minimalist sculptures constructed of building materials-but it’s fascinating to see an artist such as Emanuel Pavao work with just one material, and push it to find an endless array of possibilities.