There is a refinement to Matt Mignanelli’s paintings that comes from finding his niche and fully exploring its boundaries and nuances. At first glance, his paintings are severe – stacks of brick-like forms that call to mind early video game graphics in clinical colors. The closer one gets to one of Mignanelli’s paintings, however, the more human they feel. The artist uses industrial materials like enamel and house paint, whose viscosity is made more apparent when dripping off the end of his brush and landing directly on the canvas. While his paintings could pass for pristine silkscreens, each is hand painted, which reinforces the artist’s skill and precision. After observing the paintings in detail, the viewer should step back and experience Mignanelli’s illusionism as two dimensions seemingly become three, the starkly painted forms performing like light and shadow to create deceptive depths.
The contrast between the regularity of geometric form and the unpredictability of the overlying drips speaks to Mignanelli’s interest in architecture and the urban environment. The artist is daily exposed to the juxtaposition of imposed order and chaotic decay from his studio in an industrial Brooklyn neighborhood, as he observes the brick buildings, steel doors, and painted signs slowly giving way to use and time. Though he begins his compositions with pencil sketches over a ground of color, the meticulously repeating
forms are painted freehand. This fact, along with the presence of the drips, introduces a human element into the otherwise stark compositions. Mignanelli’s fields of hard-edge, monochromatic forms create a vibrating effect that moves and shifts under the viewer’s gaze. The evolution of these active surfaces holds much promise for this thoughtful young artist.
Matt Mignanelli was born in Providence, Rhode Island in 1983. He grew up visiting and attending art classes at the museum at the Rhode Island School of Design, and eventually studied painting at RISD. His work has been exhibited extensively throughout the United States and internationally, with solo exhibitions at Richard Heller Gallery, Santa Monica, LUCE Gallery, Torino, and Dubner Moderne, Lausanne. He was recently featured alongside Johnny Abrahams in Two on Two at The Hole in New York, and has participated in numerous group exhibitions both in the U.S. and abroad. Mignanelli currently lives and works in Brooklyn, New York.
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