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Born Fenando de Jesus Oliveira in Bahia, Brazil in 1946, the artist who goes by the simple name of Ferjo is one of the most dynamic and intriguing artists on the contemporary American scene. His surreal, even metaphysical way with a canvas has been lauded earlier, with Ferjo winning the prestigious Crescent Scholarship; at the Pennsylvania Academy of fine Arts, and the New York Council for the Arts Award for Excellence in portraiture. However, portraits are not what we see in Ferjo’s latest works. Rene Magritte, the Belgian surrealist, would be proud by Ferjo’s new art – an exciting entrancing, mentally and sensually stimulating blend of the every day with the extraordinary, the plain with the place fantastic. Most of Fejo’s paintings take within an abandoned interior, a “room with a view” out of a large window, made up of puffy, transcendent clouds and nature at the extremes of either sunrise or sunset. In one, giant pencils float down a blue-carpeted stairway, and illegible paintings hang mysteriously on the walls, while a Siamese cat downstairs watches a agog as blowfish, a broken, globular “eggshell” and transparent bubbles float before him. Another painting takes place on an old porch looking out to the sea, with a dogs, swans, and strange white and purple saplings all basking in the warm glow of mid-afternoon light. Another is simply a window frame. Again overlooking the water, but this time at sunset, all greens and yellows with a single boat moored in the deep and a single rift of cloud on its stem, seemingly having escaped from the bank of grey – white clouds above. Ferjo’s work partakes of both the old masters and the 20th century surrealists, of Vemeer and de Chirico, of the hieroglyphs of the waking eye and the Technicolor bounty of the eye asleep, ill dreams. He is a master painter with a style which reassures the heart with its beauty, while astounding the perceptions with constant visual surprise.

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