Katie van Scherpenberg lived in Amapá on the island of Santana by the Amazon river from 1968 – 1973, a time which she has described as foundational to her artistic practice, frequently returning to ideas and motifs which stem from her experiences there. As a painting which is part of her ‘Feuerbach and I’ series, the work is in dialogue with a landscape painting by Anselm Feuerbach (1829-1880) which accompanied her to the Amazon. Art historian Paulo Herkenhoff suggests that the work draws from a tradition in Brazilian painting of using local pigment in order to claim the European vocabulary of painting.
The work evokes both her memory of the Amazon and her relationship to Feuerbach’s work, emerging as a semi-fantastical landscape in a layering of warm iron oxide and ochre pigments. Art historian Paulo Herkenhoff suggests that the physical disintegration of the materials allows for the painting to become, ‘an act of craving wherein the very materials seem to journey to their end’.