Córtex, oil on canvas, 200x300cm


The Fulbright Commission went to visit our Fulbrighter Gonçalo Preto  in the Madragoa Gallery, Lisbon. A Cadência de Uma Chama is his third individual exhibition at the gallery, where he shows us fragmented narratives and marks of ordinary life through a series of oil paintings. All of these have a bluish tone, which for Gonçalo represents the calm and comfort within his mind. His paintings portray a sense of calm and fullness. However, when we stand in front of the paintings, we come to realize that they have much more movement than they appear. This is due to the glass powder finish on their surfaces, creating a smooth texture with a velvet effect. His exhibition will be on display until March 9 and we encourage everyone to go and visit it.

We were lucky to have his insights to some of our questions.  Read the interview below:

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1. Briefly, what sparked your interest in pursuing a career as an artist and how has your artistic journey unfolded over the years? It was a gradual evolution, but it started with my fascination with comics and Graphic Novels. From an early age, I was influenced by authors such as Hergé, Moebius or Frank Miller, among others. The ability to tell a story through images has always fascinated me. This gave rise to the desire to try to follow the same path and I quickly realized how limited I felt. After a few but clear attempts, it became obvious that my interest was in creating narratives that didn’t respond to a linear sequence or specific format. This decision opened the door to a parallel fascination in the world of painting. Artists such as Goya, Francis Bacon, Andrew Wyeth or Rembrandt were early foundations in my exploration of the medium. This led to new references and interests that fueled my desire to pursue a dedicated and consistent practice. It was through this that I developed the work that has been growing over the last 10 years.

2. Your exhibition presents a captivating series of oil paintings that dive into the realms of the mind and dreamscapes. What inspired you to explore these themes? Over the last few years, I have developed several works related to interior spaces in a more literal way. Through the atmospheric creation of a space or the personification of elements in it. This new work follows those same lines, but has changed radically in its formal aspect. The starting point for this exhibition comes from the desire to place myself in someone else’s mental space. However, using my own memory and personal experiences to inform this fiction. All the works derive from, or make use of, mechanical and scientific processes to analyze the interior of the body or mind.

3. Would you say that you have any artistic inspirations that helped shape your creative process? If so, who or which ones? The inspirations or influences are manifold. From painting to cinema, from music to literature. Some of these references include Vija Celmins and Matt Mullican, Stanley Kubrick and Wong Kar-Wai; or Nina Simone and Cortex, to Akira Lippit and Nikolai Gogol.

4. Can you tell us about your typical creative process, from conceptualization to execution, and how it has evolved over time? The process is constantly changing, whether in its conceptualization or in the formal result. Usually, the work arises from an idea or interest at the heart of the work. From there, questions arise about what kind of material can inform the process (books, photographic references, scientific methods, drawings) and what technical approach this work requires – going through small sketches, testing materials and finally choosing the final scale. More recently, the work has gone through various stages of transformation, as a result of the environment and sharing that the Master’s degree allows. I’ve been exploring new materials, such as engraving techniques and glass powder, which can be seen in the triptych “Os 3 Ws”, included in the exhibition A Cadência de uma Chama, at Galeria Madragoa.

5. Do you have any upcoming projects that you are particularly excited about? I’m particularly excited about three projects. Two directly related to the MFA, and a solo exhibition. As I’m now starting the last semester of my MFA at the Rhode Island School of Design, there are several opportunities to exhibit the work developed throughout the program that mark the closing of it. The first will be a group show with my class at the FLAG Art Foundation in New York, which opens on May 15; the second will be another group show with the same group at 12 Gates, a multidisciplinary space in Philadelphia, scheduled for mid-June. And the third will be a solo show scheduled for December at the Andrew Reed Gallery in Miami.


Dúplice – Os 3 W’s, oil and glass on canvas, 200x150cm

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Gonçalo Preto studied at the Faculty of Fine Arts in Lisbon, at Kassel Kunsthochschule in Germany, and at Academy of Art University in San Francisco, USA. In 2022, he won the Fulbright / Fundação Carmona e Costa Grant for a MFA-Drawing, and is currently in the second year of his studies at the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), RI, USA. As an MFA student, Gonçalo hopes to grow intellectually and professionally, as he also seeks to evolve in his paintings by gaining more knowledge.

Find out more about his art work on his website!

Thank you, Gonçalo, all the best!


Written by Filipa Dias (Fulbright Intern, February 2024)