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So Softly and Sweetly

a solo exhibition by Jeanine Brito

21.10.22 - 12.11.22


What does it mean to have the physical capacity to engender life? What are the fundamental and irrevocable implications of motherhood in a woman's life experience? What parts of oneself are lost forever with the convulsive and extraordinary life event that the passage to motherhood represents? 


In her first solo exhibition, Jeanine Brito presents a visual chronicle that traces her personal experiences in the ephemeral space between girl and woman, and then again between woman and mother. 


The artist structures the narrative in the manner of a fairy tale, following a chronological progression that begins in her childhood memories in the Canadian Rocky Mountains and recalls the fears and insecurities of the adolescent stage to finally imagine herself as the hypothetical mother she might become in the years to follow. 


The lush vegetation and calm landscapes of the exteriors function as a framework to theatricalize the various allegorical figures in which her protagonist is embodied, personified in a human figure, an object, or an animal depending on the scene. The draped textiles and carpets with floral motifs sweeten the environments, and the curtains, which reveal or hide fragments of the image, tinge them with mystery. Fruits and flowers abound, symbols of life and opulence. However, the impassivity of the faces suggests a prevailing melancholy, infecting the atmosphere with an incipient malaise contradictory to the idyllic climate that reigns in the group of works. 


Autobiographical, "So Softly and Sweetly" also nods to the figure of Paula Modersohn-Becker, a painter of the late 19th century, posthumously recognized as one of the pioneers of the expressionist movement in Germany. In one of her best-known works, Modersohn-Becker depicts herself pregnant years before she was. "Her resistance to domesticity and the confines of a conventional life, while making this struggle the subject of her work, the way she played with the idea of pregnancy and motherhood in her work in the years before becoming pregnant herself. And then, ultimately, her death as a result of the only childbirth she had at the age of 31. Her whole story has fascinated and inspired me ever since I discovered her," Brito explains.


As in fairy tales, Jeanine Brito's paintings describe a parallel world in which the enigmatic and contained symbolism gives the environments a disturbing surrealism that takes her work away from the strictly aesthetic field. The artist addresses collective issues such as the aforementioned motherhood, but also the future climate, family and professional conciliation, and the right to choose, all rooted in her own memories, fears and uncertainties.







Jeanine Brito, born in 1993 in Germany, is a painter living in Toronto, Canada, where she received her B.Des in Fashion Communication from Ryerson University in 2015.


In 2014 she studied at the Amsterdam Fashion Institute, completing a minor in independent fashion magazines. Her design education informs the use of colour and composition in her paintings, where she explores themes of memory and desire through self-portraiture and still life.


Her work is collected privately across North America and Europe, and she has been featured in publications such as Elle US, Creative Review, CBC Arts, Elle Canada, Harper’s Bazaar Italia, and S/ Magazine.  

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