Mariana under the mists: the art of Elias Layon

Jardel Dias Cavalcanti

Whoever visits Mariana, Minas Gerais, should first enter the studio of artist Elias Layon. There they would be contaminated by a poetic view of the city that reality is far from offering.

Even more important than colonial manors, in Layon’s paintings the mists are a constitutive element. In the discipline of each composition, the world’s palpability is dissolved and the mists are predominantly imposed.

In his works, colors, traces, and pictorial masses reflect the essence of this fine towel of fresh fog, the mist, in its depth, in its velvety quality, in its softness, in its scent.

In each of the artist’s new works, the world is dissolved in reflections of mist. The city is transfigured by a magical atmosphere. Layon does not want, therefore, to reveal the mysteries of the city – he wants to make it a land of mysteries.

His paintings reflect each little space of the city, of its nature, its lights revealing what their most intimate and sublime realities.

When we dive into the artist’s paintings, it is as if we had tasted the breath of immortality, taking us beyond physical time and keeping us suspended in a timeless attention in face of a vision that can only be captured by the artist’s brushes.

His art gives back to the city of Mariana its lost condition, a poetic condition that is rediscovered and enlightened by art, knowing that it is the work of art that makes it unfading.

The artist performs the miracle of turning each small beam of light, each movement of the fog, each fresh morning and leave in a tree that dance to the wind into an immense building of life force that transpires an indefinite tenure. We experience joy that is renewed with each memory of his paintings. For, as Keats put it, “a thing of beauty is a joy for ever”.

But our artist is not only a painter. Layon, after a lifetime dedicated to painting, found artistic expression in sculpting. And this discovery surprises by its rich expression and technical quality.