Using traditional methods of rope weaving and straw braiding as well as techniques of her own design Maria Nepomuceno has, since the the early 2000s, developed a process of sewing coils of coloured rope in spirals. She explores the potentially endless permutations of this adaptable form in sculptures and installations that incorporate beads, playful ceramic forms and found objects of varying sizes. Often realised in carnival-bright colours, these works are chromatically, culturally and metaphorically rich, suggesting animals, plants, the human body and landscape ranging from the microscopic to the macrocosmic.
Nepomuceno's fluid forms articulate space in a playful way, sometimes inviting 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 Huni Kuin people in the state of Acre in the north of Brazil to develop weaving techniques and has also formed links with community groups to realise projects for her exhibitions. For instance, elements of Nepomuceno’s installation Tempo para Respirar (Breathing Time), 2012 – 2013, at Turner Contemporary, Margate, were made in collaboration with a local artist studio group brought together by the artist specifically to learn her techniques and work on the commission. This spirit of cooperation and openness has extended to the display of several of her large-scale installations, where visitors are invited to interact directly with her elements of her work.
Maria Nepomuceno was born in 1976 in Rio de Janeiro, where she continues to live and work. Exhibitions in 2021–2022 include the solo presentation Maria Nepomuceno: Refloresta! at The Portico Library in Manchester (2021) and the group exhibition Forest: Wake This Ground at Arnolfini, Bristol (9 July–2 October 2022). Her work has previously been exhibited at institutions such as Stavanger Art Museum; Museu de Arte Moderna, Rio de Janeiro; Turner Contemporary, Margate; Norval Foundation, Cape Town, South Africa; Auckland Art Gallery, USA; Daejeon Museum of Art, South Korea; Hudson Valley Center of Contemporary Art, Peekskill, New York, USA and MFA, Boston, USA. Works by the artist are included in the collections of Museu de Arte da Bahia; MFA Boston, USA; Guggenheim Museum, USA; Pérez Art Museum Miami, USA; Rubell Museum, USA, among others.