Home News Calendar Instagram Home News Calendar Instagram Home News Calendar Instagram Home News Calendar Instagram

 

Home FEATURES Interview with Matt Mignanelli

Interview with Matt Mignanelli

Written by Rob Loane   
Wednesday, 11 July 2012 15:12

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.

There is a rigid order in the black/matte paintings. Are these paintings made free hand too, no ruler? Could you briefly describe the process of making a painting for you? Are there preliminary tasks or is most work done directly on the canvas?

All of the work is painted completely free hand including the black works, but is drawn out with a pencil and ruler on the canvas. My paintings are so much about surface and materiality. I use a lot of house paints and enamels so they begin with multiple layers of industrial primer, which is then wet sanded between layers. This allows the painting to start with a very smooth surface.

Drawing has always been very closely linked with my painting, and I make drawings beforehand of the piece. They're never precise, just general but give me enough to go on to calculate the measurements. A lot of times I'll do small mock-ups in paint on paper as well.

There is a rigidity and system I adhere to when painting for my framework, but I'll also adjust decisions directly on the canvas when something isn't working.

So what are these paintings about? How do you connect your work to contemporary painting? Do you intend to participate with any discourse in particular? Geometric Abstraction, Etc.?

These paintings are about environment, light, surface, and the materiality of painting. It is very much about structure, which is informed by the urban landscape around me in New York City. I'm constantly referencing architectural and industrial elements when creating these new environments. I feel that my work is connected to contemporary painting as it speaks very much to the present, while being aware of the past. I'm engaging in discourse with Abstract Expressionism, Geometric Abstraction, and Minimalism all on certain levels. I think it's hard for most contemporary abstract painters not to feel a connection and engage in a certain dialogue with AbEx. The freedom yet intense struggle with painting as the boundaries were pushed during that period is so appealing and romantic. My use of industrial materials and house painting brushes is referential to both my subject matter and the history of modern painting.

I also feel aligned with certain aspects of Geometric Abstraction and Minimalism such as purity and abstract space, but I feel that I have never made the departure to create fully non-representational images. While I do fully embrace the materiality, I try to push for more than the "What you see is what you see" of Stella.

Being a young artist myself, I often wonder how more established artists got their start/ have sustained success? Can you give a word of advice to the younger (or any) crowd, other than the typical ‘keep at it'? Maybe explain why you make art/ what has made your work specifically prosper?

I feel that any success I've achieved is directly related to persistence, organization, and an extreme dedication to painting. As artists I think that it's often easy to get wrapped up and focus strictly on your own work when you're in the studio. I really have made an effort to get out and visit friend's studios and attend openings, have a dialogue about work. I think it's so important because not only does it keep you sharp, but also fosters important relationships.

Of course producing great work is the most important aspect of any career. I constantly strive to try and make that happen and push the work forward. I was recently listening to a conversation between Chuck Close and Carroll Dunham, where Chuck Close said, "Inspiration is for amateurs; the rest of us just show up and get to work." This struck a chord with me, and I think it's a great piece of advice.

I make paintings because it's what feels right to me, it's my way of capturing the here and now. It's an unrestricted space for me to explore ideas that fascinate me.

As to what has made the work prosper, I'm not sure. I don't know if any artist ever really knows. I make work that appeals to me and I'm glad that vision has resonated with some other people as well.

Any shows or anything in the works?

I'll be showing with Marianne Friis Gallery at Art Copenhagen in September.

AJ Fosik in Tokyo at The Hellion Gallery

Matt Wagner recently emailed over some photos from The Hellion Gallery in Tokyo, who recently put together a show with AJ Fosik (Portland) called Beast From a Foreign Land. The gallery gave twelve of Fosik's sculptures to twelve Japanese artists (including Hiro Kurata who is currently showing in our group show Salt the Skies) to paint, burn, or build upon.


Ferris Plock - Online Show, April 25th

FFDG is pleased to announce an exclusive online show with San Francisco based Ferris Plock opening on Friday, April 25th (12pm Pacific Time) featuring 5 new medium sized acrylic paintings on wood.


GOLD BLOOD, MAGIC WEIRDOS

Backwoods Gallery in Melbourne played host to a huge group exhibition a couple of weeks back, with "Gold Blood, Magic Weirdos" Curated by Melbourne artist Sean Morris. Gold Blood brought together 25 talented painters, illustrators and comic artists from Australia, the US, Singapore, England, France and Spain - and marked the end of the Magic Weirdos trilogy, following shows in Perth in 2012 and London in 2013.


Jeremy Fish at LA's Mark Moore Gallery

San Francisco based Fecal Pal Jeremy Fish opened his latest solo show Hunting Trophies at LA's Mark Moore Gallery last week to massive crowds and cabin walls lined with imagery pertaining to modern conquest and obsession.


John Felix Arnold III on the Road to NYC

Well, John Felix Arnold III is at it again. This time, he and Carolyn LeBourgios packed an entire show into the back of a Prius and drove across the country to install it at Superchief Gallery in NYC. I met with him last week as he told me about the trip over delicious burritos at Taqueria Cancun (which is right across the street from FFDG and serves what I think is the best burrito in the city) as the self proclaimed "Only overweight artist in the game" spilled all the details.


FRENCH in Melbourne

London based illustrator FRENCH recently held a show of new works at the Melbourne based Mild Manners


Henry Gunderson at Ever Gold, SF

Ever Gold opened a new solo show by NYC based Henry Gunderson a couple Saturday nights ago and it was literally packed. So packed I couldn't actually see most of the art - but a big crowd doesn't seem like a problem. I got a good laugh at what I would call the 'cock climbing wall' as it was one of the few pieces I could see over the crowd. I haven't gotten a chance to go back and check it all out again, but I'm definitely going to as the paintings that I could get a peek at were really high quality and intruiguing. You should do the same.


Mario Wagner @Hashimoto

Mario Wagner (Berkeley) opened his new solo show A Glow that Transfers Creativity last Saturday night at Hashimoto Contemporary in San Francisco.


Serge Gay Jr. @Spoke Art

The paintings in the show are each influenced by a musician, ranging from Freddy Mercury, to Madonna, to A Tribe Called Quest and they are so stylistically consistent with each musician's persona that they read as a cohesive body of work with incredible variation. If you told me they were each painted by a different person, I would not hesitate to believe you and it's really great to see a solo show with so much variety. The show is fun, poppy, very well done, and absolutely worth a look and maybe even a listen.


NYCHOS Mural on Ashbury and Haight

NYCHOS completed this great new mural on the corner of Haight and Ashbury in San Francisco on Tuesday. Looks Amazing.


Sun Milk in Vienna

With rising rent in SF and knowing mostly other young artists without capitol, I desired a way to live rent free, have a space to do my craft, and get to see more of the world. Inspired by the many historical artists who have longed similar longings I discovered the beauty of artist residencies. Lilo runs Adhoc Collective in Vienna which not only has a fully equipped artists creative studio, but an indoor halfpipe, and private artist quarters. It was like a modern day castle or skate cathedral. It exists in almost a utopic state, totally free to those that apply and come with a real passion for both art and skateboarding


"How To Lose Yourself Completely" by Bryan Schnelle

I just wanted to share with you a piece I recently finished which took me 4 years to complete. Titled "How To Lose Yourself Completely (The September Issue)", it consists of a copy of the September 2007 issue of Vogue magazine (the issue they made the documentary about) with all faces masked with a sharpie, and everything else entirely whited out. 840 pages of fun. -Bryan Schnelle


Tyler Bewley ~ Recent Works

Some great work from San Francisco based Tyler Bewley.


Kirk Maxson and Alexis Mackenzie at Eleanor Harwood Gallery

While walking our way across San Francisco on Saturday we swung through the opening receptions for Kirk Maxson and Alexis Mackenzie at Eleanor Harwood Gallery in the Mission.


Jeremy Fish Solo Show in Los Angeles

Jeremy Fish opens Hunting Trophies tonight, Saturday April 5th, at the Los Angeles based Mark Moore Gallery. The show features new work from Fish inside the "hunting lodge" where viewers climb inside the head of the hunter and explore the history of all the animals he's killed.


The Albatross and the Shipping Container

Beautiful piece entitled "The Albatross and the Shipping Container", Ink on Paper, Mounted to Panel, 47" Diameter, by San Francisco based Martin Machado now on display at FFDG. Stop in Saturday (1-6pm) to view the group show "Salt the Skies" now running through April 19th. 2277 Mission St. at 19th.


The Marsh Barge - Traveling the Mississippi River from Minnesota to the Gulf of Mexico

For some reason I thought it would be a good idea to quit my job, move out of my house, leave everything and travel again. So on August 21, 2013 I pushed a canoe packed full of gear into the headwaters of the Mississippi River in Lake Itasca, Minnesota, along with four of my best friends. Exactly 100 days later, I arrived at a marina near the Gulf of Mexico in a sailboat.


Flavio Samelo's Downtown Sao Paulo Murals

Our buddy Flavio Samelo down there in Brazil does all kinds of great work including this recent mural project in downtown Sao Paulo in front of one of the most important modern buildings of Oscar Niemeyer from the 60's, THE COPAN.


John Trippe, FFDG and Fecalface.com Founder, Stepping Down From Daily Operations

John Trippe, founder, owner and curator of FecalFace.com and the Mission District art gallery FFDG, announced today that he will stepping down from daily operations of the two ventures to seek new career opportunities.


High 5s - Get Your Feet Wet

I purchased one of the first digital cameras when Fecal Face went online in 2000. It was a massive Kodak with 2 mega pixels


"Touching Base" by Schuyler Beecroft

San Francisco based Schuyler Beecroft emailed over the great new series of paintings he's completed entitled "Touching Base", 16x20in on mounted wood panel. Like them.


Flume - Space Cadet (ft. Ghostface Killah & Autre Ne Veut)

Buddies Jay Howell & Jim Dirschberger did this great video produced by Forest City Rockers.


Fire Shelter for Papay Gyro Nights 2014

Last year we posted photos from another one of Simon Hjermind Jensen's Fire Shelters he's made in Copenhagen. This time around the Copenhagen based artist/ designer created one for the Papay Gyro Nights 2014 way up in on the Orkney Islands in Northern Scotland.


"Portrait of a Slugger 19" by Hiro Kurata

Beautiful painting by NYC based Hiro Kurata now on display at SF's FFDG through April 19th as part of the group show "Salt the Skies".


"Veins of Octulen" by Curiot at FFDG

"Salt the Skies" opened on the 21st at FFDG and features this great piece by Mexico City based Curiot (Favio Martinez) whose sold out 2013 show Age of Omuktlans ran at FFDG. His forthcoming solo show is slated for March 2015.


Rome's Alice Pasquini ~Mural+

Rome based multimedia artist Alice Pasquini emailed over a recent mural completed in the historic working class neighborhood of Rome called Tufello.


+SF

+NYC

+LA

FULL CALENDARS: BAY AREA | NYC | LA

 

HOME

- NEWS

- CALENDARS

- INSTAGRAM

 

-------------------