João Marçal’s oeuvre has been developed essentially within the field of painting.
Apparently abstract, his work almost always incorporates literal references from day-to-day life, many of an autobiographical nature: fabric patterns, packaging designs, public transport graphics, logos, architectural details. In most cases, it is possible to identify a universe dating from the 1980s and 1990s.
The autonomy of forms is counterbalanced by affective ties, like two poles that simultaneously attract and repel, as if this involved a kind of Sentimental Abstractionism or Nostalgic Formalism. Multiple layers coexist and interact in each work, which may be inspired by reports of personal episodes, and may include reflections primarily focused on the technical and historical possibilities of the medium itself. A fundamental vector of Marçal’s recent work has been the space(s) occupied by painting, beyond its material evidence and physical limits as an object.
João Marçal has regularly exhibited his works since 2003, including participation in group exhibitions and solo projects for independent spaces such as: Salão Olímpico, PêSSEGOpráSEMANA, IN-TRANSIT, Laboratório das Artes, Mad Woman In The Attic, Espaço Campanhã, Espaço Avenida, Maus Hábitos, A Certain Lack of Coherence, Espaço Mira, Parkour and Sismógrafo.
In 2005, using the pseudonym of Marçal dos Campos, he launched a project in the field of musical production, which he has developed in parallel with his activity as a fine artist. Starting in 2017, he began to use sound in some of his works and installations.
He participated in the artistic residencies Residency Unlimited, in New York (2017), Résidences à i'Octroi, in Tours (2015) and Singular Collective Memories - Guimarães European Capital of Culture 2012, in Guimarães (2012)