Skimming the Internet looking for new artists and inspirations, I'm always looking for something that can not only catch my eye, but sustain my attention. I stumbled onto New York based artist Matt Mignanelli's website a few months ago and got stuck on it; his black, matte and monochromatic paintings having some sort of transmittable information for aesthetic and structural reasons. In researching his earlier work I saw an interesting transition and wondered how it happened. I sent him some questions and this is the result.
Interview by Rob Loane
Tell me about yourself, you surely aren't painting all the time, what do you do outside of your work? Hobbies, duties, family... Does your art take up more time than you want it to?
Outside of the studio I'm usually going to openings, looking at painting, and going to the bar. My second passion is cooking. It relates to painting for me, I love the hands-on creation, the control, the quick gratification it brings. I use it as my way to decompress; it really relaxes me. I come from a strong Italian-American background where food means family and great friends; I love that aspect of food bringing people together. My brother and brother-in-law both live in and around the East Village, and my wife and I try whenever possible to keep up the tradition of a Sunday dinner.
I wouldn't say that my painting takes up more time than I want it to, but it does consume me. I have a very hard time shutting it off. I like to maintain a rigorous studio practice, it feels right to me.
These new black/matte/monochromatic color schemes and compositions seem to be more simplified in their elements. What was the transformative process that made you simplify, both to the grid and the figure ground relationships you are using? Why the decision to go black?
These current works developed out of a gradual process of working through and reexamining my earlier painting. At first I was creating small areas of monochrome, which then slowly developed into monochromatic backgrounds, and finally entire paintings. While I was working on larger scale works, I would always be making smaller works where I felt freer to take risks. These were always much more minimal, and almost magnifications of elements in my larger works. In a lot of ways those smaller works felt more satisfactory to me, which then led to me chasing that simplification. The grid paintings started as I began to concentrate on these smaller areas within the works and use the grid to create a confined space. The works that focus more on figure/ground relationships I arrived at by stripping away distraction from the paintings, I want these to be minimal environments that are still somewhat relatable to the viewer.
I arrived at black searching for purity in my painting. Black is so pure, it's unsettling, it represents the unknown.
I've always made bold paintings, and the black on black is bold yet there is so much subtlety, there is a balance. The black paintings are just as much if not more about the gloss/matte relationship as they are the blackness. As you move around these works they change with the light as it's reflected and absorbed into the surface, this level of engagement has really driven my continuation with this body of work.
80+ year old NYC based street fashion photographer and icon Bill Cunningham is an interesting character who still buzzes about New York City by bicycle making fashion shows and society soirees for the NYTimes. The film, "Bill Cunningham New York", documents the thoughtful/ matter-a-fact nature of the man who believes fashion isn't about celebrity and glamour but about finding beauty in a harsh world.
We highly recommend this honest portrayal of a man whose life's work isn't about money but about following your heart's desire and truely being yourself, working hard continuing to do what you love. The film is a wonderful portrait of an honorable man and well worth checking out (Netflix streams it, if you go that route).
In her paintings and sculptures, Schulnik’s lurching, world-weary figures mingle with feline memorials among landscapes teeming with over-ripe blooms – densely painted and hand-molded visions entreating woolgathering and sympathy. “My fixation on these characters is not intended to exploit deficiencies, but to find valor in adversity. Hobo clowns, misshapen animals or alien beasts, they are typically built upon a human frame, drawing from film and dance. I like to blend earthly fact, blatant fiction and lots of oil paint to form a stage of tragedy, farce, and raw, ominous beauty -- at times capturing otherworld buffoonery, and other times presenting a simple earthly dignified moment.”
Video for "Ready, Able," from Grizzly Bear's 'Veckatimest.' Directed by Allison Schulnik.
Old friend, NYC fashion photographer Bradford Gregory, emailed over a few photos he's been shooting of the Occupy Wall Street protest that's been doing on there in NYC... These young people on Wall Street are giving voice to many of the problems that working people in America have been confronting over the last several years.
SF based Kim Cogan has been oil painting SF street scenes for years. Now, for his 3rd solo show at the NYC gallery, Gallery Henoch, he also explores city scenes of that city as well. Amazing skill with oil paint and mood. The show opens tonight (6-8pm) and runs through Oct 15th.
On the way to work, I recall along the way passing by a beautiful cherry red bicycle locked outside a store. Having passed by the bicycle twice a day to and from work, I assumed the owner lived or worked nearby and didn't pay much attention. It wasn't until one day I noticed that the seat had been stolen and a week later, the wheels were missing. Over a time period of a month, the thieves much like vultures, slowly picked away at the remains piece by piece until all that was left was a dented, rusty old frame which remained for several years chained to the parking meter.
Whenever I pass by bicycles with handlebars missing, or oddly warping wheels that look as though it is melting to the ground like from a Salvador Dali painting, I have often thought to document the slow transformation I had previously observed. I found plenty of subjects to choose from while walking around the streets of New York. -Kim Cogan
This Los Angeles, a gallery from LA, will be presenting an exhibition of work by a group of hardworking artists whose work we admire, and they're having a party at ACE Hotel as well - open to everyone, free and 21+ with some booze provided. ~Check the FaceingBook
Hope Street Wednesday, 27 July 2011 /// Written by Trippe
David Shillinglaw who blogs it up for Fecal Face in London from time to time was State side recently and did a little mural work while he was in Brooklyn.
San Francisco based Mario Martinez (Mars-1) is in NYC preparing for his show Afterglow which opens tomorrow (5/26) at Jonathan Levine Gallery. Looking good. If you're in that part of the world, get to the show. It's going to be amazing.
Mars-1 working on a massive painting... Remember this one?!
Undercity Monday, 21 March 2011 /// Written by Trippe
Andrew McClintock of Ever Gold Gallery here in San Francisco was out in NYC last week for the art fair maddness and has been blogging it up for Fecal Face. This round he covers the Volta Fair. Below are his words and photos.
Andrew McClintock of Ever Gold Gallery here in San Francisco was out in NYC last week for the art fair maddness and will be blogging up his experience here on Fecal Face over the next few days. We would have gotten his posts up earlier, but we were in mid gallery move.
Below are his words and photos from the Armory Show preview last Thursday in two parts. Below is Part 2 and we'll post part 3 tomorrow.
Andrew McClintock of Ever Gold Gallery here in San Francisco was out in NYC last week for the art fair maddness and will be blogging up his experience here on Fecal Face over the next few days. We would have gotten his posts up earlier, but we were in mid gallery move... Below are his words and photos.
This day may have been inevitable, but now it's finally here. In its attempt to take over the world - or at least everything that can be bought and sold in the world, Amazon is launching an art gallery.
This summer Amazon is planning to launch a Fine Art Gallery where customers will be able to purchase original artwork offered by a select group of invited galleries via Amazon.com. ~continue reading
A new HBO documentary looks at the work of street artist JR, whose giant portraits force people in troubled areas to confront the humanity that's all around them... On the day JR found out he'd won the $100,000 TED Prize, the French pasteup artist found himself in China being questioned by police for doing his thing on the streets of Shanghai. ~continue reading
Street artist JR HBO documentary premiered yesterday, May 20th
Art lovers, collectors and gallerists will gather on Thursday for Hong Kong's inaugural edition of Art Basel, sealing the city's status as an international art hub and Asia's leading art destination... Hong Kong has surged to third place in the global art auction market behind New York and London and Western galleries are falling over each other to open franchises in the former British colony. ~continue reading
Wowzas, there's a lot of art happenings this weekend, and while you're making the rounds, be sure to stop at SFAI's MFA show Currency opening Friday, May 17th at the beautiful old SF Mint Building (88 5th Street).
SFAI's 2013 MFA graduates—working in painting, photography, printmaking, film, sculpture, installation, digital media, performance, and across media—will present work that embraces the Institute's signature spirit of experimentation and conceptual risk-taking.
Opening reception: Friday, May 17, 7–9 pm & running through Sunday 11-6pm daily. -- complete details
London based Pedro Matos opens the solo show Building Castles Made of Sand this Friday in Los Angeles at the Martha Otero Gallery featuring a new series of oil paintings on canvas and azulejo panels - a traditional Portuguese medium of hand-painted, tin-glazed, ceramic tile work.
TrustoCorp's all new work for their exhibition at LeBasse Projects in Culver City, Los Angeles is a perfect continuum from past work that embraces the bipolar "have/have not" socioeconomic identity of Los Angeles, which they recently established their new studio in.
I didn't know if you came across this video yet, but I ran into my friend Brian Hanson yesterday who helped film and edit it. It's a film short documenting the work and philosophy of Huntington Beach surfboard Shaper Tim Stamps. Super rad and really inspiring! Anyhow take a peek.
Last year, Eric Caruso a teacher at Harry Wirtz Elementary School (Paramount, CA, near LA) had an idea to invite some artists to paint some murals at the school because there wasn't an arts program for the kids. That brilliant idea resulted in some awesome murals by artists Seitaku Aoyama, Yusuke Hanai, Rich Jacobs, Tim Kerr and Albert Reyes.
Ryan De La Hoz' show in the Upper Haight at RVCA runs through this Saturday... And the next time you're in the Mission, be sure to swing through his new shop on 14th St, Cool Try... We need to get over there soon and do a little photo feature for ya.
The Book and Job Gallery (San Francisco) really stepped it up with the opening of Daniel Chen's loveBlast on May 4th. Complete with a doorman, piano player, old fashioneds, and some really nice paintings, I could hardly believe I was at the Book and Job. The paintings varied in size, and the show was balanced nicely between them, the spray-can work on the walls, and the smaller drawings displayed throughout. The kind notes Chen wrote on the walls are certain to brighten your day, and the rest of the work is definitely worth a look. It was a very classy evening and I hope they continue to intersperse shows like these into their schedule in the future
FFDG opened up the group show featuring original works by the artists of the world famous Skull & Sword tattoo last Friday here in San Francisco. Thanks to the huge crowd who turned out to support these four incredibly talented artists. Here is a taste of the show, and be sure to swing in to view in person. The show runs through June 8th.
Gary Baseman's retrospective "The Door is Always Open" at the Skirball in LA opened recently to massive crowds in a huge celebratory opening party. The exhibition is so complex and personal, delving into Baseman's background, family history, and all the layers of prolific work that he has done over the years. After the opening festivities winded down, I caught up with Baseman for an interview. We discussed the underlying meaning to some of the components of the show and how it felt for him, coming from such an honest personal perspective in putting this massive show together.
Fertile Menace, a new show of Mark Mulroney's (NY) work opened at Ever Gold on May 4th and it's not one to be missed. It is intelligently hilarious, with jokes riffing off sex, Foucault, and the body, and while it makes you laugh it's also going to make you think.
Our buddies Jay Howell, Andreas Trolf, and Jim Dirschberger are hyped as their show, which they've been working on for like 2 years, premieres on Nickelodeon Saturday. From the trailers we've seen so far and from what Jay has told us about, the show is going to be pretty epic. Congrats to those radical fellas.
Following his solo exhibition "The Collected" at Gallery Wendi Norris, painter Amir H. Fallah is in the throes of developing more new works for upcoming international exhibits. We spent some time in his studio in Highland Park, Los Angeles recently, discussing his process and inspiration.
We were first introduced to the photography of Spanish born NYC based Bubi Canal when he emailed us his great video Trust in Me a couple years ago. His solo show Special Moment recently ran at NYC's Munch Gallery in February, and he recently released his newest video Chrystelle below.
Although I missed the opening of Northern-California photographer Michael Garlington's newest show, Constructed Realities, I was fortunate enough to see the work still up during the Metaphysical fundraiser a couple weeks back at 111 Minna. Metaphysical fundraiser, an auction to benefit Wayne Ernzer. --- The ghoulish photographs in their heavy, hand-made frames are reminiscent of photos from the old west, and the glass crucifixes, complete with fetuses and guns, emphasize the accumulated time within the works themselves. Whether you're looking at the frames, the photos, or both, this show deserves a visit, and a walk through the golden archway Garlington constructed around the front door.
Fecal Face contributor Rachel Ralph (rachel(at)fecalface.com) has been profiling this Oakland based painter as he travels about Japan. In this segment, we feature some photos as he prepared for this show and residency at Spes-LaB in Tokyo which opened last weekend. Arnold will be featured in SFMoMA's Minna Street windows on June 8th.
Last Saturday, here in SF's Mission district, Guerrero Gallery opened two new shows with Philly based Alex Lukas and SF based Richard Colman respectively. Colman's work occupied the project space while Lukas' work and foliage was presented in the main space. Worth getting to if you haven't already.
Just got back to SF after a little trip south to Sayulita, Mexico. After 10 years without a vacation, me and the Mrs. headed south for some mental time off sitting in the sun, swimming and enjoying the watery Mexican beer. Here are some photos as we get back into the swing of things again.
Athens, Greece based designer, architect and artist Dimitris Polychroniadis emailed over more of his work which consists of mixed media, pop-humorous diorama sculptures that make a comment on the harsh realities my country and much of the world is facing at the moment.
FFDG will open a group show with the artists from the famed Skull & Sword Tattoo on Friday, May 17th (6-9pm). Artists: Grime, Henry Lewis, Yutaro, and Lango. Below are a series of videos on Grime for Vice's Tattoo Age produced in 2011. Fascinating look at one of the greatest tattoo artists alive today.
ARYZ (Spain) opened his newest gallery show at Fifty24SF last Friday and, if you live in the Bay Area, you need to go. This dude can obviously paint, and he doesn't need an entire building to show his impecable skill. The show has lots of small works on paper which contrast his highly-defined line work to his hard-edged painted objects. The contrast between the hard and soft was the most striking thing to me about his work, since I had never seen it in person before, and the washes blend with the thick paint seamlessly. The show also contains a larger work on canvas, a huge head suspended in the back of the room, and a big wood sculpture of a wolf figure. This diversity in such a small space was impressive, and those of us that went to the opening even got to meet the man in person. If you didn't make it out this weekend, check it out before May 31st when it closes and these works will be off to some very happy new homes.
Water McBeer is please to announce its latest exhibition "Precious" a solo exhibition by David Bayus (April 6 - May 4, 2013) -- David Bayus born 1982 holds his BFA from the Savannah College of Art and his MFA from the San Francisco Art Institute. David lives and works in San Francisco and is a founding member of the basement collective. This will be his first exhibition with the world renown Water McBeer Gallery highlighting his most recent achievements with paint and digital media. David Bayus will be exhibiting 5 relatively large-scale mixed media works along with a collaborative object featuring Hungarian sculptor H.R KOONS.
The Shooting Gallery handed over the reins to the Red Truck Gallery (a New Orleans based gallery) which curated their new show, Hard Time Mini Mall and opened the it on Saturday night. This is my favorite show (so far) in the Shooting Gallery's new space and was packed full of art, a mini bar, and cowhide rugs. The Red Truck Gallery chose works with clear craftsmanship and it was easy to see in Ian Berry's denim assemblages and Chris Roberts-Antieau's awesome quilts. The space was completely packed, making it hard to see each piece individually, but this show deserves a second trip anyway. I look forward to spending more time with the chandeliers, automatons, and paintings before the show comes down on May 4th.
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