past event — exhibition
date and location
Nov 18th, 2021 — Jan 15th, 2022
By appointment only

Sage Culture Gallery
725 E Washington Blvd
Los Angeles CA 90021
past event — exhibition
Sage Culture is pleased to present Verdant, Filipa Tojal's first solo exhibition in the United States. The show features the artist's most recent work, which traces her return to her home country, Portugal, after four years living in Japan. Verdant brings together several paintings completed in her studio, a charming centenary house in the streets of Porto.

Filipa holds a BA in Fine Arts from the Faculty of Fine Arts of Porto and completed a Master's Degree in Painting at Tokyo University of the Arts. She has lived and worked in Japan for four years on a fully-funded scholarship from the Japanese Government. While using Western and Eastern techniques and questioning the differences between these two worlds, she embraces a visual and meditative process having as her poetic and visual influence the changing surrounding scenarios.

"Finished or unfinished paintings, sculptures, or objects, with a clean and direct trace of the material and surface, seem to manifest and embrace touches, rustles, or virtues of nature. I try to explore what is beyond the limit of a painting, trying to retrieve to the observer and myself the long-lost need for earth and soil. My daily work in the studio happens within and on the fringe of the universe of painting. A visual investigation of forces, appositions, touches reflect a silent wonder about our position on the ground and the preponderance of nature. My continuous and endless experimentation of the pictorial world of painting results in a palette of colors which is quite subdued but not innocent and on objects which act as intermediaries in this play."
While this painting selection is undeniably abstract, they also suggest the artist's natural sceneries, which inhabit her mind and memories. Over the past years, influenced by the time spent in Japan and the Japanese way of painting, Filipa Tojal searched for natural and raw surfaces like paper, textiles, other fibers, and botanical dyes or mineral pigments. The works featured in this exhibition also surround matters like tradition and heritage, as most of the surfaces used are the linens passed through generations of the artist's family.

Closely, each painting and surface is subtly raw in its textures, and its even colors do not cause distraction from the material, its meaning, and its substance. Each painting carries an intimate and honest relationship between the pigments, the weave of the linens, and the natural elements that wander through it. The green in hue or in freshness and the gestures and rhythms of the compositions naturally makes you wonder about landscapes - forests, lakes, or seashores, being somewhere specific for the artist or the observer, or nowhere at all. The ultimate sense of Verdant, a spacious conversation of small to big scale paintings, is to be invited to stillness. The title recalls a fresh atmosphere of infinite greens and the poetic cycle of nature, growth, and life.

The title "Verdant" can also reminisce about the simple Japanese word Shinryoku, meaning "new green" or "the fresh verdure of spring." This concept conveys a specific season where sprouts and new branches appear in trees and vegetation during springtime. This new fresh tone of green can be easily spotted, even in the far distance, in every forest, mountain, or garden. Despite its small area, Japan is one of the most forested countries in the world. Its very favorable geological and climatic environment forms abundant woodlands, making it 70% of the country's total land.

Filipa has treated nature as her subject matter, bringing this subject into the proximity of our lives, taking influence from the Japanese sense and harmonious relationship with nature. Both Shinryoku and Verdant suggest the visual and contemplative side of each painting and the overall feel of the exhibition. Still, both words can also mirror the artist's growth after a period of reflection and introspection – just as spring after winter.

The artist has traveled and shared her journey, driven by the aspiration of moving away from the place of origin, almost acting with the same understanding of Jean François Lyotard that "In order to have a feel for landscape you have to lose your feeling of place."

Sage Culture is pleased to present the first significant body of work completed after an extensive and reflective experience in the East. This new translation of unique experiences of nature combines Eastern sensitivity and Western materiality. Visitors are invited to observe every detail, pigments, the weave of the surface, the gesture, and the natural elements that appear discreetly in each painting.

Verdant opens on November 18th by appointment only.

For more information about the exhibition and featured artworks, please email the gallery at
related artists.
Filipa Tojal
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