MATTHEW PENKALAThe Day You Crossed A Nova: New Paintings January 11 – February 8, 2014
Western Project is proud to present the first solo exhibition of paintings by Los Angeles artist, Matthew Penkala. A 2002 MFA graduate of Cranbrook Academy of Art in Detroit, Penkala has spent the last few years refining his work into an eccentric minimalist territory. Reminiscent of 1960’s color field painting by artists such as Larry Poons and Helen Frankenthaler, Penkala updates the atmospheric language by suggestions of contemporary technology; hyper color and references to illuminated screens of lap tops, smart phones, monitors and televisions. He primarily uses an airbrush to create the abstract images, drawing compositional windows within a field of color to create the illusion of internal/external and artificial/natural spaces. The transitions between spaces are sometimes ephemeral and sometimes abruptly delineated; the use of color is intense and florid but in no way sentimental. The viewer must visually negotiate their surroundings in his paintings. Penkala shares a sensibility of the slip sliding videos of the late Jeremy Blake, where what you think you see becomes something else as the eye picks up more subtle shifts of surface qualities and hidden details of the whole; a seeming narrative but none. Penkala plays with optics and film conditions as visual bait to conflate the actual and the representation; fragmenting the visual experience into a series of changing moments, into a state of flux, into an ‘unfixing’ of conceptual models rather than concretizing them. The boundary blurring Penkala plays most importantly produces an awareness of experience, ravishing and intriguingly fluid.
Matthew Penkala has shown at David Richard Contemporary in Santa Fe, Bruno David Gallery in St. Louis, Ruth Bachofner Gallery in Santa Monica, College of Creative Studies, Detroit, Arizona State University, Tempe. He was a recipient of the Joan Mitchell Foundation MFA Grant Award in 2002.
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