Although the artist's engagement with Afro-Brazilian iconography has emerged in the last few years, certain continuities with his earlier work are present and they help clarify his true subject.
Firstly, there is the reengagement with popular visual culture, the terrain of his first works. What the artist found in Brazil was a strange and exuberant version of the same classical Christian tradition, which he explored in the 1990's.
Secondly, the recent works are about sensuality and sexuality, as were many of the collage-based works of the 70's and 80's.
Thirdly, the theatricality of the new subject matter had an appeal for an artist for whom paintings are often conceived as stages, on which entities present themselves to the viewer. This particular idiom has persisted throughout his work and is closely related to (or is a version of) the metaphor of the studio as a space of transformation.
Another layer of reference can now be added, the studio as terreiro, the place where spirits are invoked. Then there is the use of models to explain complex ideas and to represent persons or, as here, deities.
Finally a current of surrealism is evident in some works from "Steel Nurse" 1971 to "Cool House" 1990 and beyond.
It resonates in recent paintings especially "Ze, St Jorge and his Dragon" and in the painterly transubstantiation of the votive statuettes into animated beings." Pomba Gira, Queen of the Seven Crossroads and Ze.
Euan McArthur, The House of Miracles 2005, East West Gallery London