Title: Series Las Traperas
Medium: Mixed media: paper and collage
Size: 100 x 130 cm.
Duarte's artistic career began in 1962. During the 70s she devoted herself to tapestry; in 1986 she began to concentrate on painting; and from 1996 on she created both paintings and installations. Since 1986, she privileged the irrational, the emotional self, psycho-sexual problems and personal mythologies in order to express herself in paintings of very high chromatism as well as loud, distorted images in a very violent, neo-expressionist tendency as in her series, Rituales, Mitos, Espejos y Mentiras (Rituals, Myths, Mirrors and Lies) (1990), in which she embodies solitary feminine beings, locked up in enclosed, delimited spaces, with boxed-up faces and in attitudes of self-sufficiency. In 1996 she radically changed her palette and type of expression while at the same time endeavoring to deal always in a subjective way- with other topics without abandoning the feminine one. In a subtle, sensitive key she approaches the world of her rural childhood, in particular, the home-made toys built by her mother with loaves and logs. From then on, she devotes herself to exploring the rural world from which she came, a recalling of rural sensations, of the poverty at home; very crude, coarse elements, of helplessness in the country.
Duarte states, "It is not poor art. It is from poorness. I suffered from a disease that immobilized me; I was left in the hands of a countryside healer. Defeat-endure: the therapeutic resource of helplessness. Art: an addiction to face life. I belong to the countryside. I bring forward that culture. This work is nothing else but the brick floor in my parents' house and aunt Norica's healings. I am the daughter and granddaughter of Brazilians. I was born in the countryside, on the border with Brazil, and I lived there until fifteen years of age. I attended a rural school. It was well over ten years ago, when I started to work from the recollections of experiences and situations which had been my own, during my childhood and teenage years in the countryside. I wanted to introduce into the established, acknowledged cultural circles that culture which had marked me. I worked at recreating the dolls my mother used to make, I endeavored to link psychoanalytically the snares used in the country to catch animals with the traps we set ourselves as adults. My work also deals with the helpless situation of woman in the countryside, when she is facing sickness, pain, lack of love, and those resources to overcome them. To beat-defeat, for this is all about faith, magic, and spells, as procedures in an archaic psychoanalysis that relieves daily living."
Duarte was chosen by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Culture to exhibit a series of her work, Las Traperas at the Venice Biennal 2005 in the Uruguayan Pavilion at the Giardini, Venice, Italy. Her selected solo exhibitions include: Traperas, Gallery Latal, Zurich, and in Uruguay, 2005; Las manos limpias (Clean Hands), Cabildo de Montevideo, (Town Hall), 2004; Territorios (Territories), Instituto Goethe, 2002; Espacio limitado (Limited Space), Dodecá Cultural Centre, 2001; Hecha la ley, hecha la trampa (Law passed, trap set), Engelman-Ost Collection, Montevideo, 1997; Ceibos y Panes, Museo Municipal de Bellas Artes, Juan Manuel Blanes, 1996; Rituales, mitos, espejos y mentiras (Rites, myths, mirrors and lies), Centro de Exposiciones del Palacio Municipal, Montevideo (Town Hall Exhibition Centre), 1990; Museo de Arte Contemporáneo, Montevideo), 1988; Galería Vezalay, 1986; Galería Malecón, Punta del Este, 1984; Galería Ciudadela, Montevideo, 1983; Ateneo del Uruguay, Montevideo, 1962; and Taller Pedro Figari, Salto, 1956.