Ana Maria Pacheco

Dark Night of the Soul
Sculptures : November 9, 2007 — August 3, 2008

Members’ Preview Reception Thursday, November 8, 2007, 6 - 8 p.m.
Special artist talk Sunday, April 6, 2008, 3 p.m., Framingham Civic League. Tickets at 508.620.0050 x16.

The Danforth Museum of Art is pleased to announce a special appearance by internationally renowned exhibiting artist Ana Maria Pacheco. The artist will speak about her work on Sunday, April 6, 2008 at 3 p.m. at the Framingham Civic League. Please call 508.620.0050 x16 to purchase tickets.

The Danforth Museum of Art is pleased to present Dark Night of the Soul, an installation of nineteen polychromed wood figures arranged around the kneeling figure of a hooded man transfixed with arrows. Pacheco has studied many examples of Sebastian imagery, a Roman archer shot full of arrows as a punishment for his conversion to Christianity. Certainly, there is a reference to the National Gallery’s great altarpiece by the brothers Pollaiuolo, dating from the 1470’s. However, Dark Night of the Soul was inspired more by the writings of the Spanish mystic St. John of the Cross, to suggest a struggle deep within one’s self as opposed to actual martyrdom.

Ana Maria Pacheco (sculptor, painter and printmaker) was born in Brazil in 1943. Following degrees in both Art and Music, she taught and lectured for several years at universities in Goias before going to London, England on a British Council Scholarship to the Slade School of Fine Art. Since 1973 she has lived and worked in England.

Exhibition Press - Dark Night of the Soul

Critics' picks - visual arts : Dark Night of the Soul
The Boston Globe, March 9, 2008
   [Read more]

“Silent witness - Sculptures conjure up specter of torture”
By Greg Cook, The Boston Globe, February 29, 2008

      “In the darkness stands a crowd of agitated people. When you walk between them, at their center you find a man, naked except for a black bag over his head. He would easily be the tallest in the room if he stood up. But he is kneeling, with his hands pulled behind him and tied to a post. And he is shot full of arrows.
      So it goes in Ana Maria Pacheco's haunting sculptural installation Dark Night of the Soul at the Danforth Museum.    . . .  [Read more]

“Nightmare on Union Avenue - Danforth hosts haunting work by Brazilian sculptress”
By Chris Bergeron, The MetroWest Daily News, November 8, 2007

. . .  As if ripped from today's headlines, Pacheco's disturbing sculptural installation evokes the cruelty and violence slumbering beneath the humdrum surface of everyday life. Through remarkably detailed wooden figures, the Brazil-born, London-based artist has transformed the iconic image of St. Sebastian, a Roman soldier martyred for converting to Christianity, into a hallucinatory tableaux that spans the ages.
. . .  The most dramatic artwork shown at the Danforth in recent years, Pacheco's installation resists a singular interpretation. Instead it conjures her own hellish vision of injustice in ghostly archetypes drawn from the human catalog of man's inhumanity to man. Walking among the piece's haunting figures, visitors might imagine falling through the rabbit hole of history into the Inquisition, the Gulag or the killing fields of Cambodia.   . . .  [Read more; see pictures of exhibition and installation; view video of exhibit]

“A Happy Opening for Danforth - Scandal Nearly Snagged Carvings by Brazilian Artist”
By Denise Taylor, The Boston Globe, November 8, 2007

      “When a gallery scandal in New York rocked the art world last month, it also caused quite a few sleepless nights for a museum director in Framingham.
      For two years, Katherine French has been raising funds and planning for the Danforth Museum of Art's most ambitious exhibition to date: an installation of monumental wood carvings by renowned Brazilian artist Ana Maria Pacheco.
  . . .  Titled the Dark Night of the Soul, the installation addresses religious and political issues in Brazil with imagery from the story of St. Sebastian. With 18 figures gathered around a hooded, arrow-pierced man, it's not a light-hearted display.
      “Basically, it's an execution, the execution of St. Sebastian, and you're allowed to walk into the sculpture area. You don't look at it from a distance,” said French. “It's very compelling. It's like the theater. You really feel moved. You feel that you've become part of that experience.”
      Carved in a style recalling Catholic icons as well as African tribal art, they evoke many traditions from Pacheco's homeland. But it's her attention to detail, such as creating mouths with porcelain teeth, that adds emotional potency.   . . .   [Read more]

Ana Maria Pacheco, Dark Night of the Soul
Dark Night of the Soul
Wood Sculptures
Photograph © National Gallery, London

Danforth Art logo

General Information

Art Classes


Supported in part by:

Masschusetts Office of Travel and Tourism Mass Cultural Council

Copyright © 2005-2018 Danforth Art. All rights reserved.     |     Privacy      |     Danforth Art on Facebook     Danforth on Twitter    Instagram icon