Untitled (from the Deserto-Modelo series), 2019

Photo: Everton Ballardin | Courtesy the artist Mendes Wood DM, Sao Paulo, Brussels and New York

Many of Lucas Arruda’s dense, atmospheric paintings appear to be fields of pure abstraction at first glance, yet upon closer inspection, they reveal dreamlike depictions of oceans, twilight or sunrise, and rolling banks of fog or clouds—the compositions remain ambiguous enough for multiple readings. Arruda paints these enigmatic scenes from memory, unmooring them from geographical specificity and letting them pulse with imagined serenity and power. The artist generates a mysterious ambience with his muted, subtly shifting palettes and evocative, scratchy brushwork.