Maria Nepomuceno's vibrant, seductive work draws on the craft traditions of her native Brazil. Using traditional methods of rope weaving and straw braiding as well as techniques of her own design, she creates biomorphic sculptural forms that appear to evolve and mutate organically. Since the early 2000s she has applied and developed a method of sewing coils of coloured rope in spiral configurations. Over time her constructions have become increasingly complex and sophisticated, as she has explored the potentially endless permutations of this adaptable form. Her sculptures and installations incorporate beads and found objects of varying sizes and are often realised in carnival-bright colours. These works are metaphorically rich, suggesting basketry, hammocks, umbilical cords or strands of DNA, sprouting, hanging or trailing plant life, and microscopic or macrocosmic organisms. Nepomuceno's fluid forms articulate space in a playful way and invite tactile exploration. The notion of the rope as a connecting thread is as conceptual as it is literal in Nepomuceno's practice. In recent years collaboration has become a more overt factor in her work. She has worked with indigenous people in the Huni Kuin tribe in rural Acre in northwest Brazil to develop weaving techniques and has also formed links with community groups to realise projects for her exhibitions. This spirit of cooperation and openness has extended to the display of some of her large-scale installations, where visitors are invited to interact directly with her work.
Nepomuceno was born in 1976 in Rio de Janeiro, where she continues to live and work. Recent solo exhibitions have taken place at venues including Barbican Gallery (2016); Museu de Arte Moderna, Rio de Janeiro (2013); Turner Contemporary, Margate (2012); Magasin 3, Konsthall, Stockholm (2010); Galeria Karsten Greve, Cologne (2009); Steve Turner Contemporary Gallery, Los Angeles (2009) and Paço das Arte, São Paulo (2008). Nepomuceno's work has featured in group exhibitions at venues including Kunsthal KAdE, Amersfoort (2016); Auckland Art Gallery (2016); Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (2015); the International Biennial of Contemporary Art of Cartagena de Indias, Colombia (2014); Wexner Arts Centre, Ohio (2014); Schirn Kunsthalle, Frankfurt (2013 - 2014); Hangzhou Triennial of Fiber Art (2013); IFA Institut, Berlin (2010); Lehmann Maupin Gallery, New York (2010); Toyota Museum of Contemporary Art, Nagoya (2008); Galeria Luisa Strina, San Paulo (2007); Museu de Arte Contemporânea do Paraná (2007) and Paço Imperial, Rio de Janeiro (2007).