New York’s Artist-Run Galleries You Need to Know, Part I
by Emily Torrey
November 13, 2015
Husband-and-wife duo Matthew Deleget and Rossana Martinez launched MINUS SPACE in 2003. At the time, the project was purely an online platform: “a hybrid social network, blog, news, and art historical site.” After three years, the group started presenting physical projects in Gowanus, converting half of their shared studio space. In 2008, MoMA PS1 took note of the collective’s focus on new approaches to minimalist abstraction, inviting MINUS SPACE to curate a 54-artist show at the museum. And this past May, the duo set up shop in their first ground-floor gallery in DUMBO.
Artsy: How do you balance your own art practices with running the gallery?
Minus Space: It’s a persistent challenge, to say the least. In addition to our individual studio practices and the gallery, we’re also raising a family together — we have a six-year-old son named Mateo. We honestly don’t see any distinction, though, between what we do in our studios and what we do at the gallery. They are both the direct expressions of creative ideas.
Artsy: In your opinion, what makes a gallery successful?
MS: We equate being successful with mounting innovative exhibitions and changing the artistic discourse within our discipline. With the gallery, our goals are to be totally uncompromised and self-sustaining. It’s a challenge, for sure, but they are not mutually exclusive.
Artsy: Do artists make better gallerists?
MS: Artists do make compelling gallerists and there is a very long tradition here in New York of artist-founded/run galleries, alternative spaces, and museums. Artists also generally tend to be way ahead of the curve in terms identifying new ideas and trends, as well as recognizing artists the general art world has overlooked, especially artist’s artists.
Revitalization by Contamination: OBJECT’hood at Lesley Heller
By Jonathan Stevenson
Two Coats of Paint
August 2, 2015
“…Peter Dudek’s foreboding mock-brutalist cardboard sculpture of a prison-like structure — titled Who Goes There — and Matthew Deleget’s hauntingly reductive black plastic installation Failed State are fitting segues to an evolved obsession with security…”
9 Things to Do in New York’s Art World Before July 24
By Paul Laster
New York Observer
July 20, 2015
“A sprawling group show, “Object’hood” offers the work of 25 artists in mediums ranging from painting and photography to architecture and design. Isidro Blasco assembles his photos of a 360-degree view of Shanghai into a 3D, pop-up-book; Matthew Deleget makes a mural from black garbage bags mounted on the wall via static electricity; and Kate Gilmore offers photo-documentation of her act of bashing a hole through a partially painted sheetrock wall on a beach—thus providing a pathway to the sea.”
Failed State (detail), 2015
Black plastic garbage bags, hung upside down, static electricity, black pushpins
Installation view at Lesley Heller Workspace, New York, NY, 2015
The 2014 Whitney Biennial: the Book as a Medium in Contemporary American Art
By Michael Thompson
The Papers of the Bibliographic Society of America
Volume 109:2, June 2015
“Matthew Deleget takes aim, deconstructively, at the history of abstract and minimalist painting in the twentieth century. His deconstruction is both analytical, as in his Whitney piece, and physical. Physically, his strategies include hanging a blank canvas on a gallery wall and then painting it and the adjacent areas of the wall with spray paint, painting with randomly selected colors in a random pattern and, most interestingly, actually destroying a monochromatic canvas, similar to those of Frank Stella and Ad Reinhardt, and displaying the resulting detritus as art. Taking up where Krauss, Kosuth, and Judd leave off, he starts with the final logical extreme of minimalism, a monochromatic painting, and then moves a step beyond it.
His work at the Biennial, called Zero-Sum, was a vitrine containing forty-two monographs from his personal library, all of which were pur- chased at a discount or had been discarded, which to Deleget reflects the shifting tastes of the marketplace for art (see fig. 8).37 The idea came to him when he saw a copy of Circle; International Survey of Constructive Art being used as a doorstop. Eight titles in Zero-Sum are by or about Alfred Jensen (1903–81), one about fellow Biennial artist David Diao (b. 1943), and the rest about contemporary artists exploring minimalist abstraction.
In his own words, through this work he has become “an advocate for artists and ideas that are extraordinary but that are generally overlooked, unfashionable, unmarketable, or, worst, discounted altogether…By thinking of these books as works of art, I’ve brought them back full circle into the realm of ideas and aesthetics.” There is a connection here to his physical destruction of monochromatic paintings, since in each case he addresses the minimalist issues of painting by not creating a painting at all but by moving an existing painting into the realm of what Marcel Duchamp called “the service of the mind.”
Spring 2015, p.52
For Brooklyn-based Deleget, artistic inspiration comes from carefully observing the world around him. “Ideas can come from anywhere,” he says. “Everyday life, especially in New York City, is an endless source of creative stimulation.” His pieces — often crafted with acrylic or enamel spray paint — represent what Deleget calls “reductive abstraction,” characterized by humble materials, limited color, and repetition. In 2003, he and his wife, Rossana Martinez, opened Minus Space, a Brooklyn gallery and community platform that showcases the work of dozens of artists. “I’m motivated by the idea of inventing something new,” Deleget says, “something that hasn’t existed before and that advances the conversation.”
Matthew Deleget: Related Lines Exhibition
February 12, 2015
Domino fave Matthew Deleget’s latest exhibit is a modern visual exercise in color and scale.
For his most recent showing — a two-person exhibition with artist Hartmut Bohm — reductive abstract artist extraordinaire Matthew Deleget experiments with methods of color field painting, which are usually of a grandiose scale. The show, on display at Dr. Julius AP from November 13, 2014 through January 24, 2015, was inspired by “shuffle” feature on most mp3 players and inverts traditional color patterns Deleget selected at random. “With these new paintings,” Deleget explains, “I’m interested to see if an intense color experience can happen on a minute scale.”
The Big Show / An Artist’s Artist / Every Art Buyer’s Fantasy
by Richard Paige
Matthew Deleget at Peter Blake Gallery
By Mariangeles Soto-Diaz
No. 19, Volume 5, 2014, p. 82
Matthew Deleget’s new show at the Peter Blake Gallery, titled “Vanitas,” replaces his usual historical creations with a series of monochrome paintings made with enamel spray paint on canvas and decorative frames. By uniformly spraying both canvas and frame to create a seamless unity, Deleget literally and figuratively makes visible the role of the frame. What kinds of frames — statements, institutions, criticism — are necessary in the constitution of an artwork’s ontology? Questions of conceptual framing and painting’s ontology are indispensable to monochrome painting’s ongoing history, and in “Vanitas,” Deleget engages some of the ideas expressed through the genre.
All nine of the medium-sized monochrome paintings subscribe to the same formula, though each work elicits a different set of associations. Vanitas (Bright Gold) features the most ostentatious of the frames, working as a shorthand for excess and the material displays we associate with the historical genre of vanitas. Using semantic rather than illustrative means, Vanitas (Bright Gold) steers the focus toward matters of taste and tastelessness, tempering the shorthand for material excesses with the light moral undertone that characterizes the genre. There is no explicit manifestation of material wealth, but Deleget’s elaborate gold frame against the austerity of monochrome painting make for a surprisingly brilliant tension. In contrast, Vanitas (Pewter Gray), features the least decorative of the frames in the exhibition. The dense, flat gray of this work highlights the painted nail holes and ridges of the wooden frame’s dents, recalling Deleget’s own hammered paintings.
The unpretentiousness of Vanitas (Pewter Gray) has the odd familiarity of unfixed yet periodically repainted wooden floors. Also echoing architecture, Vanitas (Dover White) distances itself from the cool white monochromes by Malevich, Ryman or Rauschenberg through its moderately ornate frame whose warmth vaguely recalls middle-class living room walls with baseboard moldings. The white monochrome fills the trope of silence in reductive abstraction, calling into question the border separating meaning from potential meaninglessness, and yet this articulation is deftly thwarted by Deleget’s noncompliant decorative frame—the empty vessel might not be empty after all.
Deleget’s primary color monochromes — Vanitas (Ford Blue), Vanitas (Sun Yellow) and especially Vanitas (Tomato) — animate the exhibition, infusing the entire show with an offbeat take on primaries. Finally, Vanitas (Black) is repeated in the show (one solo, two as diptych) and feels closer to Allan McCollum’s Plaster Surrogate paintings than to Reinhardt’s sublime monochromes. If the black monochrome stands for the tired cliché of painting’s ongoing death, here its declarative power is recast as a symbol of ephemerality.
While Deleget’s exhibition might be interpreted as a metaphor for painting’s condition, it is neither dry nor cynical. “Vanitas” makes visible the need for visual and intellectual pleasure modulated by a humorous dose of subversion, as well as the underlying imperative of slowing down the fast rhythm of obsolescence. And that may just be the key to abstract painting’s viability, at least for now. All is vanity.
Mariangeles Soto-Diaz is an artist who lives and works in Southern California. Her writing has been published in Contemporary Aesthetics, Postcolo- nial Studies and other academic journals.
Matthew Deleget, Vanitas (Black), 2014
enamel spray paint on canvas and decorative frame, diptych
19.25 x 15.25 x 1.5 inches each
Politics and Abstract Painting: Matthew Deleget at Outlet
By Sharon Butler
Two Coats of Paint
October 1, 2014
In the beginning, when Malevich and El Lissitzky were making some of the first Western abstract paintings, abstraction was infused with politics and ideas. The connection continued through European art movements in the 1960s and 1970s, such as Arte Povera, ZERO Group, and Supports/Surfaces. In recent years, however, abstract form and process have become vehicles for more personal, less strident explorations of the provisional, the contingent and the casual.
These days, a painting often starts with a small idea about everyday life–a nasty break-up, for instance–that might incidentally be read as a metaphor for a larger, more universal issue or argument even though the connection may be completely unintended. Nonetheless, I’ve always taken the position that individual artists’ widespread adoption of these approaches is, in itself, an indication of our deep and pervasive social problems, regardless of the artists’ intents.
Recently in the studio I’ve begun to turn my own thinking around. I’ve resolved to look at the specific challenges and personal circumstances that form the impetus for each painting as symptoms of larger problems within our society. The problems then become the explicit basis for each painting, rather than simply an inadvertent or unconscious reference. Instead of using process and materiality as metaphor, I want to reinvigorate the notion that abstract paintings can in fact be directly engaged with the world. In his remarkable paintings currently on display at Outlet, Matthew Deleget seems to be thinking along the same lines.
The co-director of Minus Space, Deleget has never been particularly interested in traditional painting approaches such as wet-on-wet and glazing, color mixing, or other techniques that create the illusion of three dimensionality. Resolutely reductive, his practice is to make pristine, mid-size wooden panels and cover them with spray paint. For this series, he has done a little more, with a big impact. To wit, he has struck the surface of each painting with a small hammer until the smooth panel is pockmarked and sometimes destroyed. For many artists, such gestures would be violent acts rooted in personal frustration, but Deleget connects it with something larger. His intent is to create a visual equivalent to the damage US intervention has caused in Middle East countries, and he has succeeded quite elegantly. Improbably for a reductive artist, Deleget prompts us to vault past esoteric issues in contemporary abstraction to big issues in today’s world.
Death Benefit, 2014
Gold enamel spray paint on wooden panels, diptych
24 x 43 inches overall, 24 x 20 inches each
To Leo, a Tribute at Sideshow Gallery
By Paul Corio
September 17, 2014
“…Matthew Deleget’s system-based Shuffle (2010) presented something tantamount to four monochromes trying to exist within the same space, each jostling out the other. Focusing on any one of the painting’s four sets of four colors called them up to the foreground, only to be superseded by another with a shift in gaze…”
Matthew Deleget, Shuffle (for Felix Pupi Legarreta), 2010
Acrylic on MDF, colors chosen at random, 18 x 18 inches
Private collection, New York
Matthew Deleget, Hadi Tabatabai, Don Voisine at Peter Blake Gallery
By Liz Goldner
“One of Laguna’s most successful gallerists, Peter Blake shifted focus three years ago, from mostly LA-based artists, to artists working in a reductive, minimalist style, including numerous artists from way beyond Southern California. His recent three-person exhibition highlighted two artists currently based in Brooklyn — Matthew Deleget and Don Voisine — and one from the Bay Area, Hadi Tabatabai. Matthew Deleget, whose work was included this spring in the 2014 Whitney Biennial, created a nine work series called Vanitas for this show. Taking nine enamel spray paint colors — black, sun yellow, pewter, red, gold, true blue, Dover White, bright yellow and Ford Blue — he then monochromatically spray-painted each canvas and its surrounding ultra-baroque frame with one of these colors. The result is nine paintings that echo in form, structure, and even simplicity of subject matter, the Dutch 16th-17th century “vanitas” still-life paintings. Conversely, the effect of each work, with its nearly neon splash of single color, is a mesmerizing in-your-face challenge to traditional painting. The artist’s inspiration for the series also includes Mondrian’s paintings and monochromatic works by the 1970s-80s “Radical Painting Group”…”
Matthew Deleget, Vanitas (Tomato), 2014
Enamel spray paint on canvas and decorative frame, 22.5 x 26.5 x 3.5 inches
Private collection, Los Angeles, CA
Nuevos diálogos y tentativas en Alejandra von Hartz
By Janet Batet
El Nuevo Herald
July 5, 2014
“…También se incluye en este grupo, Dead before Death, 2012, de Deleget, quien se reapropia del título del conocido soneto de la poeta inglesa Christina Rossetti. El dorado tríptico alude también a la sagrada familia y a la noción de poder, pero, por sobre todo, asistimos a una metáfora del arte contemporáneo y su reducción a mero valor monetario condicionando así su existencia incluso desde la concepción de la pieza…”
Installation view of New Dialogues, Alejandra von Hartz Gallery, Miami, FL, 2014
Artist Flashcards: Matthew Deleget and his Deconstructive Paintings
By Danielle Kalamaras
April 2, 2014
Each week Bushwick Daily brings you a new Artist FlashCard, introducing an amazing artist living/working/showing in Bushwick who you need to know. Featuring both new and old faces, our goal is to encourage the growth of art scene and to appreciate wonderful talent in our hood!
Who: Matthew Deleget
Where: He originally moved to New York City to do graduate work in painting and art history at Pratt Institute. Since then, he lived in a bunch of different neighborhoods, including Clinton Hill, Carroll Gardens, and now Boerum Hill. He has had studios in Clinton Hill, Carroll Gardens, Gowanus, and Dumbo.
What: Works ranging in style and medium, yet connected through their analytical and physical deconstruction of painting in order to expand the possibilities of the medium. By reconstructing the composition, he moves beyond the confines of the stretcher bars to the far reaches of the walls and the exhibition space.
Where you have seen his work: Most notably he has a piece in the 2014 Whitney Biennial (no big!), while locally he is in the group show Spitball at Storefront Ten Eyck (up through April 6) that deals with the subject of humor along the absurdist lines of Andy Kaufman. He is also in a group show of MFA alumni at Pratt Institute, which was organized by Polina Barskaya, Alexander Kaluzhsky, Jesse Patrick Martin, and Bryan Rogers of Bushwick staple gallery Honey Ramka. Matthew will be staying busy this year with a solo show at Peter Blake in Laguna Beach, CA later this month, a show at the New Bedford Art Museum in Massachusetts this summer, and he will be in a two-person show this fall with artist Hartmut Böhm at Dr. Julius / AP in Berlin, Germany.
Why we’re into it: Matthew Deleget is an artist tour-de-force to keep your eyes on. His work focuses on the deconstruction of the canvas, yet he explained his technique as moving through different strategies that push the boundaries of painting to its limits. Of his work he says, ”some of my strategies include monochrome paintings that are broken with a hammer, paintings that are made on-site in a show where I hang a canvas on the wall and then spray paint it and the wall at the same time, paintings that are made by random color and pattern generation, paintings that are made of plastic bags as a surrogate for paint, etc. I’m interested in the possibility in painting.”
Working in so many styles drove me to asking Matthew his influences. He is influenced by the people around him and those that have touched his life, starting with his grandfather who taught him how to paint, to the artists he works with and collaborates at his gallery Minus Space which he co-founded in 2003 with his wife, artist Rossana Martinez, based in Dumbo, Brooklyn. The artist’s biggest influence without a doubt is his wife, artist Rossana Martinez , who he met at Pratt in 1994. As the artists described, “She lived next door to me in the dorm my first semester – the girl next door – and we’ve been sharing everything ever since.” With art and life so intertwined, Matthew Deleget’s prolific career has only just begun.
Michelle Grabner’s Whitney Biennial is a Grand “Curriculum”
By Mary Louise Schumacher
March 14, 2014
www.jsonline.com (full article)
“…Down in the basement near the museum’s cafe is a particularly wonderful gesture by Matthew Deleget, who instead of contributing a painting, installed a vitrine with a gathering of seminal books on art and theory that he bought on the cheap, a stand-in for the ideas that individuals and institutions have discarded. Like Michelle’s show, it’s a rescuing and relishing of ideas.
And you see this theory pinging around the show. It is re-animated by a cacophony of wonderful, artist-to-artist conversations that recur and overlap in every corner of the show. It continues, too, in written form in the exhibition catalogue…”
Zero-Sum (detail), 2011-present
42 discounted & discarded art publications, vitrine
Site-specific installation for the Whitney Museum
Top 10 Artists to Watch at the Whitney Biennial
By David Everitt Howe
March 7, 2014
The 2014 Whitney Biennial opens today with three outside curators, Stuart Comer, Anthony Elms and Michelle Grabner sharing programming of this prestigious spring show. We’ve dug deep to highlight ten of the 103 artists we think you should look out for on your visit.
Matthew Deleget (#6)
Making painting something of a contact sport, Matthew Deleget’s canvases are beat with a hammer, literally, wrapped in rolls of brightly colored masking tape, or simply spray painted directly on the wall. The result is their monochromatic color bleeds onto the gallery wall, and playfully subvert the medium in strikingly beautiful ways…
Zero-Sum (detail), 2011-present
42 discounted & discarded art publications, vitrine
Site-specific installation for the Whitney Museum
2014 Whitney Biennial II
By Loren Munk
The Kalm Report
March 7, 2014
Whitney Biennial Hits the Books
by Pac Pobric
The Art Newspaper
Publishing is a theme this year of the sprawling survey of contemporary art
New York. Critics have not always been kind to the Whitney Biennial, which opens its latest edition in New York this month. In 1946, when it was still an annual event, the essayist Clement Greenberg began his review by saying that it was “no worse than last year’s— which amounts almost to an improvement, since each of the Annuals in the three or four years previous had been worse than the one before it”. Around 40 years later, Robert Hughes saw the work of the 1985 show’s youngest artists as “loud and, except in its careerism, invincibly dumb”. The 1993 edition, an unabashedly political one, included work by Daniel Joseph Martinez, who distributed badges to museum-goers that read: “I can’t imagine ever wanting to be white”. In the New York Times that year, Michael Kimmelman said he presumed that “many have left the biennial, as I have, feeling battered by condescension”. And even before the 2014 edition opened, it had its detractors. The Huffington Post, for example, groaned that the show did not include enough minorities or women.
But this year’s biennial is difficult to pin down. With 103 participants, it is not the largest show in its history (the 1973 edition, for example, included 221), but its artists span the aesthetic gamut: painters, sculptors, performers, photographers, novelists, poets, appropriation artists and even one publishing house, Semiotext(e). Age does not bring the artists together either. The youngest two, Tony Lewis and Jacolby Satterwhite, each turn 28 this year, as the oldest, Etel Adnan, celebrates her 89th birthday. And although the show is being organised by three curators (Michelle Grabner, Anthony Elms and Stuart Comer), some of the artists involved are using the work of other artists in their own practice.
Can a show this sprawling amount to much more than a broad survey of contemporary art? “When it comes down to it, that is what it is,” Elms says, adding that any curatorial idea for the biennial is “loose, and I would be hard pressed to say that the artists I chose stay close to a line I might give”. But publishing is a theme that carries throughout: one of the artists she has chosen is the late American author David Foster Wallace, who will be represented by two research notebooks used in the preparation of his unfinished, posthumous 2011 novel The Pale King.
The theme is not restricted to novelists. For his part in the show, the artist Matthew Deleget has constructed a 20ft-long vitrine filled with books purchased at museum bookstores at discounted prices. In many instances, the books are on artists seemingly discarded from the art historical narrative. “It’s almost like raising the dead in some cases,” Deleget says.
It is an apt analogy: books speak to us from the past, having already been written. But publications are only one theme among many at this year’s biennial, and the central concern of the curators is that the work speaks for itself, one object at a time.
42 discounted & discarded art publications, vitrine
Site-specific installation for the Whitney Museum
David Pagel speaks with Matthew Deleget
Whitney Biennial 2014 catalog
Whitney Museum of American Art
New York, NY, 2014
David Pagel: I love a bargain as much as the next the guy. And the bargains I love best are books that have been ridiculously discounted and sold for a fraction of what they originally went for. Their prices suggest an alternative economy—one linked to the dominant economy, but absurdly out of synch with its standard operating procedures. As an artist, what led you to choose discounted books as the main materials for Zero Sum [2011-ongoing], your piece in this year’s Whitney?
Matthew Deleget: Like much of the work I’ve been making lately, I didn’t really intend to make Zero Sum at all. The piece just kind of occurred to me in looking more closely at my own interests and habits—the things I do unconsciously when researching and making the things I make. I do love discount books. (I’ve got a bit of a problem, actually.) I especially like the rare, vintage, and out-of-print ones I find in used bookstores, which are sadly becoming increasingly rare in New York. Two of the remaining ones in my neighborhood in downtown Brooklyn just became nail salons. I don’t even want to think about what that implies about the state of intellectual discourse right now.
For the last two decades, I’ve been combing through bins at second-hand stores, galleries, and museums for cool finds. Around five years ago, it struck me, though, that most of the books I’m interested in, either intellectually or aesthetically, have been either discounted or discarded in various ways by institutions, galleries, schools, or individuals. I can remember the precise moment this occurred to me, in fact. I was giving a talk at a local art school, and I came across the landmark book (for me) Circle: An International Survey of Constructive Art, edited by J.L. Martin, Ben Nicholson, and Naum Gabo, being used as a doorstop. Of course, this book is resting safely at home with me now. It joined my collection of hundreds of monographs, artists’ writings, biographies, and art-history publications—my personal resource library and a latent work of art unto itself.
DP: And does your interest in cheap, discontinued publications tell us much about the way you think of—and run—the gallery MINUS SPACE?
MD: Yes, in many ways, Zero Sum and MINUS SPACE, which I cofounded in 2003 with my wife, artist Rossana Martínez, address the same basic issue. Both advocate for artists and ideas that I feel are extraordinary, but that are generally overlooked, unfashionable, unmarketable, or, worst, discounted altogether. As artists, we make unbelievable sacrifices to produce our work with the idea that we may, hopefully someday, be included in books like these. By thinking of these books as works of art, I’ve brought them back full circle into the realm of ideas and aesthetics. I wonder just how long it will be before I see this Whitney Biennial catalog in a discount bin somewhere . . .
DP: And, if we’re lucky, there’ll be some bargain-conscious, history-loving youngster ready to snatch it up and do something interesting with it? To rescue it from the dustbin of history? Is Zero Sum a kind of rescue operation? And doesn’t that idea collide with the work’s title, which implies a perfect balancing out of accounts? It seems to me that your work suggests that the accounts are not balanced, that there is a remainder, and that that is where the surplus value comes in. Is that where art enters the picture?
MD: It’s so much more provocative to think of Zero Sum as a kind of rescue operation! Yes, I do think advocacy is a big part of it, working to set at least one facet of the record straight. As you know, I have a background in both painting and art history—I really don’t see any distinction between the two. I’m terribly dissatisfied, however, with the history of contemporary art as it’s been told in the glossies, mega-galleries, art fairs, museums, and auction houses over the past two decades. It’s history as told by the “winners,” in a way, by the 1 percent at the top end of the market.
By contrast, I find the plodding investigation of new ideas and forms, which primarily takes place inside artists’ studios, to be much more compelling. It’s messy, irrational, unregulated, pluralistic, even contradictory. I prefer visiting a studio over seeing a formal exhibition of an artist’s work any day. For me, seeing work in the space in which it’s been conceived and labored over has just no comparison. My real interest lies not in the theatricality of a show, but in that massive part of the iceberg that sits below the surface of the water and generally doesn’t see the light of day. That’s the part that keeps the rest of the fray afloat.
DP: Could you say more about the ways your backgrounds in painting and art history have fed into each other? How does that double-layered approach influence the many roles you play today—painter, curator, dealer, archivist, and historian? And does this suggest that amateurism, after years of disparagement from paid professionals, is making a comeback?
MD: I think my studio work and the work I do at the gallery are one in the same. It’s honestly impossible for me to distinguish where one ends and the other begins. I’m an artist at the gallery and a historian in the studio. When I’m not physically at one place, I’m at the other. And I try to approach both with the same level of intensity and criticality.
I don’t think of it so much as amateurism, but rather as DIY. And much of the art world as it currently exists—the things we genuinely take for granted now—was started in this same DIY manner by artists. Look no further than the Whitney Museum itself. Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney, an established sculptor, founded the Whitney Studio Club in 1918 to support the work of her artist friends and colleagues. She also collected their work intensively, and later on offered her enormous collection—something like five hundred works or more—to the Met in 1929. When the Met rejected it, the Whitney was born.
I think our discourse would be a lot less interesting if we left it up to the professionals. I think the pros would agree with me. Meaningful things can happen when people start to question the status quo, envision how things could be different, and take matters into their own hands. I’m an ally of anyone who does this.
David Pagel is an art critic who lives in Los Angeles. He writes regularly for the Los Angeles Times, and is a professor of art theory and history at Claremont Graduate University and an adjunct curator at the Parrish Art Museum in Water Mill, New York.
Matthew Deleget: Art+Words
by Rich Bailey
The Pulse: Chattanooga’s Weekly Alternative
November 21, 2012
My first impression of Matthew Deleget’s “Pictures at an Exhibition” (continuing through Dec. 7 at UTC’s Cress Gallery of Art) was that he was an artist speaking narrowly to other artists. But within a few minutes he won me over.
“Softedge” is a wooden panel thickly covered with layer after layer of two-inch blue painter’s tape, 10 rolls to be precise.
“Pleasure Zone” is three rolls of 3/4-inch masking tape hanging on pushpins. Both the rolls and the pins are red, yellow and blue, but the colors alternate.
Those same three rolls seem to have been used in “Note To Self,” a blank 27 x 18-inch sheet taped to the wall with two rows of the same colored tape, from left to right, red-yellow-blue on top and blue-yellow-red on bottom.
“Color Vulture,” the largest piece that dominates the gallery’s back wall, is three off-the-shelf white canvases with red, yellow and blue spotlights playing over them.
OK, I know it’s conceptual art, but it struck me as a collection of distancing gimmicks, as if he were saying “Art is no big deal, I can make it with light. And who needs to paint when you have painter’s tape?”
But then I started reading. Most of Deleget’s pieces are accompanied by long paragraphs of text.
All that blue painter’s tape in “Softedge” not only turns the tool into the medium, it is applied to the surface underneath in a grid, another artist’s tool. Deleget sees subtle color variations that are hard to control, just like with monochrome painting, and “The panel is transformed into a soft billowing pillow of blue by ‘I wonder what would happen if?’ a question that has driven the expansion of thinking in art, technology and science for centuries.”
In “Zero Sum,” Deleget comments on the commodification of art by himself commodifying the work of fellow artists. In this piece, he presents a set of five art books on well-known living abstractionists that he purchased from the sale section of the Whitney Museum of American Art. Like raw materials, these works of abstract art have been packaged into a museum exhibit, manufactured into high-end art books, remaindered to the sale table, then recycled into conceptual art—even more abstract—by Deleget.
“Nuclear Error” is 25 black plastic garbage backs pinned flat to the wall. According to the accompanying text, it is a subversion of “monochrome” painting. Turns out that both black trash bags and the acrylic paint used in monochromes are pigment mixed in a plastic binder. Art = trash bag. And these trash bags are held flush to the wall by static electricity, a benign manifestation of the same atomic particles that filled so many body bags after the nuclear accidents at Chernobyl and Fukushima.
These texts are mostly free of the ethereal over-thinking that can be so off putting in artist statements. Reading one of these notes prompts a little “aha” of discovery that makes what might have seemed like an opaque inside joke for artists into something a little richer and more subtle.
True, his work depends on the commentaries for some of its effect, but what doesn’t need accompanying text in these times?
Maybe a beautiful wooded landscape is self-explanatory, but when you drive through the Smoky Mountains, you might want to know why so many trees are dying (acid rain and Wooly Adelgid infestation). Digital devices strive to be self-explaining but most never seem to make it. And are the biggest events of our lives really lived until we tell someone about them?
We talk about everything, so why shouldn’t art come with words attached?
For me the bottom line of good art is that it’s cool stuff from the mind of someone who looks at the world and says, “What can I do with that?” From someone working with clay or paint to a conceptual artist pushing ideas around, artists spend their days attempting to create artifacts or performances that can go out into the world and hold their own next to everything else in the natural and human environments.
Deleget’s exhibition of visual-verbal jabs shares its title with the 1874 musical composition by Modest Mussorgsky, an abstraction of visual art into music that was the only record of the exhibition viewed by the composer. Deleget completes the circuit by showing pictures that embody abstractions and are best viewed by also reading.
“Pictures at an Exhibition” has been reviewed in the current issue of ArtForum, the ninth Cress Gallery show to be reviewed nationally, according to Director-Curator Ruth Grover.
Installation view of Matthew Deleget: Pictures at an Exhibition, 2012
Matthew Deleget: Pictures at an Exhibition at Cress Gallery of Art
by Sylvie Fortin
November 10, 2012
“Pictures at an Exhibition,” Matthew Deleget’s current solo show, features works made with common materials — painter’s tape, drywall screws, garbage bags, paint rollers, pushpins, and spotlights — which modulate walls, canvases, and pedestals to variously delicate, violent, and playful effects, and turn the gallery space into something of a construction zone. In the process, Deleget casts painting as a site-sensitive practice that enlists an expansive repertoire of gestures: wrapping, dipping, hammering, pushing, screwing, floating, flooding, and throwing away.
Deleget mobilizes a restrained palette—red, yellow, and blue; black, white, and gray. Three large yet unmonumental works anchor the main gallery. The entrance-facing wall is awash with Color Vulture (all works 2012), in which three monochrome floor-to-ceiling projections (in red, yellow, and blue) cast painting as event. A store-bought white rectangular canvas hangs hesitantly at the center of each pure-color projection: a reticent star in the hot spot. But stardom is here unsustainable and color unstable. Color bounces off the wall, sullying the edges of the neighboring canvases, while use unevenly and unpredictably fades the spots’ intensity. As one moves toward and along the work, one draws and redraws the canvases’ borders. Their shadows expand and retract uncontrollably on all sides. Viewers are left oscillating in a battleground between control and contingency. Ultimately, Color Vulture is a metaevent: a play on the rectangle in the third power. It also nods to Mondrian’s 1926 essay “Home-Street-City.”
One Thousand People Just like Me assaults a nearby wall with half-drilled-in screws, creating an immersive, if at times nearly imperceptible, grid. As one traverses the space, shadows variously thicken the screws/strokes, turning the work into a constellation of recombinant works-to-come. Across the room, Nuclear Error tenuously blankets a wall with twenty-five black thirty-gallon garbage bags, hung gridlike with static electricity and a few black pushpins. When push comes to shove, Deleget’s tight show proves the infinite power of deft gesture.
Sylvie Fortin is an independent curator, critic, and editor. She was Editor-in-Chief of ART PAPERS magazine from 2004-2012 and Curator of Contemporary Art at the Ottawa Art Gallery from 1996-2001.
Installation view of Matthew Deleget: Pictures at an Exhibition, 2012
Interview with Matthew Deleget
by Zachary Keeting & Christopher Joy
November 3, 2012
Curator’s Notes – Matthew Deleget: Pictures at an Exhibition
by Ruth Grover
Cress Gallery of Art
University of Tennessee Chattanooga
The inspiration for the title of Matthew Deleget’s exhibition derives from the musical composition Pictures at an Exhibition written by Russian composer Modest Mussorgsky. Mussorgsky penned his composition in 1874 in response to his visit to an actual exhibition in St. Petersburg, Russia. The score simulates the experience of a visitor to the exhibition, a musical interpretation of standing before an individual work of art and mentally absorbing and interpreting its formal qualities, narrative, and meaning. These movements are linked by transitional passages whose tempo references the act of walking from one picture on to another, and whose tone and mood suggest mental reflection.
There have been attempts to determine the exact works of art that inspired Mussorgsky yet the difficulty of recreating an exact visual image from the musical score is problematic. Mussorgsky’s 19th Century musical version remains as the only documentation of that exhibition, the memory of the composer translated to manuscript of staff and note. Mussorgsky’s musical simulation, and stimulation of the senses in its arrangement, becomes a form of abstraction. Abstract things are sometimes defined as those that do not exist in reality or exist only as a sensory experience.
Matthew Deleget’s reductive abstraction creates its own rich sensory experience in response to the broad plurality of our 21st Century world; a world where the idea of any singular reality has been replaced by discoveries of science, advances in industry and technology, the development of the field of psychology, the rapid accumulation of knowledge, and the burgeoning worldwide web whose complexity of content is nonetheless founded upon the simplicity of the binary function.
Deleget’s Pictures at an Exhibition will feature all new work specifically created by the artist in the spaces and dimensions of the Cress Gallery. Merging painting with conceptual, process, and installation strategies, Deleget’s two and three-dimensional works present premise as concrete, thought as object. Each installation is considered as a part of a total entity; each is a movement to be considered within the whole of the gallery. Their elaboration is derived from the pragmatic, the employment of “off the shelf” consumer goods as materials for construction — items familiar to each of us, now posed in a new yet straightforward context as visual predicates, their distilled qualities made visible and tangible.
Deleget’s work is not about “Pop Art”, “Op Art”, nor “Minimal Art”, yet it does build upon those histories. As paint for Deleget is just another material purchased at a hardware store, Deleget’s exhibition is less about painting, and much more about painting as a metaphor, a frame of reference to lead to other thoughts. The conceptual — the abstract — has been both the genesis and the result of “art making” since prehistory as the ability to abstract is considered a trait solely of the human species. While it might be said that abstraction is unconcerned with the literal depiction of the visible world, it can be said reductive abstraction fully engages with the complex and difficult realities of that world in a thoughtful, sincere, and direct manner.
Yet in acknowledgment of the intricacies of conceptual development, Deleget shares another connection with Mussorgsky’s work. Joseph Albers (1988-1976), the internationally renowned abstract painter and theorist, designed the cover for a Command Records 1961 recording of Pictures at an Exhibition. Deleget organized an exhibition of Albers record covers in 2009 that included this album, and it continues to hang on the wall of his apartment to this day.
Matthew Deleget, Color Vulture (detail), 2012
3 off-the-shelf white canvases, red, yellow, and blue spotlights
Dimensions variable, canvases 24 x 20 inches each
Three Summer MFA Shows Tackle Painting and Its Discontents
by Allison Meier
July 26, 2012
“Three current exhibits focusing on recent MFA recipients show that painting is still being utilized by young artists for experimentation, even if they have to totally destroy the canvas with a hammer or fill it with cement…Then there is Matthew Deleget’s frenzied “They Don’t Love You Like I Love You” (2009), where four panels painted with silver were totally smashed by the artist, leaving jagged holes to the empty wall, showing that voids of paintings, at least when they are attacked in such an agressive way, can have just as much emotion as those without blunt force trauma…Art Peña, similar to Matthew Deleget in the Pratt show, has destroyed the place for the paint within the frame, here with a cake of cement in “Attempt 17″ (2012), a statement on artistic trial and error instead of Deleget’s angry love.”
They Don’t Love You Like I Love You, 2009
Silver monochromes, silver acrylic paint on 4 panels, hit with a hammer
16 x 60 inches overall, each panel 16 x 12 inches
Notations: The Cage Effect Today at Hunter College Times Square Gallery
by Eva Diaz
“…Between this circuit of silences pregnant with sound and emptiness full of incident, the artists in “Notations” continually return to Cage by way of Rauschenberg. The exhibition’s spare, refined installation rewarded sharp attention and patience, as many works would be overlooked in nearly any other context. Matthew Deleget’s Monochrome (Sleeper Cells), 2007, consists of three reflective panels coated nearly to their edges with white paint the same color as the gallery walls. Such a work might elicit a shrug elsewhere (as no doubt many monochromes sometimes to), but the discursive field of “Cage/Rauschenberg” demands subtler perception. Deleget’s paintings amplify shadows, and their color and appearance vary according to light conditions. Additionally the roughly applied perimeter of paint appears like the slapdash coats thrown up to cover graffiti on city walls…”
Installation view of Notations: The Cage Effect Today, Hunter College Times Square Gallery, New York, NY, 2012
Left: Matthew Deleget, Right: Linda Stillman
by Annie Wischmeyer
Notations: The Cage Effect Today
Published by Hunter College / Times Square Gallery, New York, NY, 2012
Cage’s use of systems and chance operations was a means by which he could divest his work of self-expression, preferring to let sounds be themselves, and ever fearful to have them bear the burden of carrying some meaning. Cage let go of the romantic notion of the artist’s hand: aesthetic decisions should have nothing to do with the artist.
Taking up his mantle, Matthew Deleget writes “I am decidedly unromantic…it is all a means to an end.” His approach to his work is straightforward — paint is used straight from the tube without any kind of emotional underpinning — and applied without any romantic posturing. Cleansed of any expressionistic content, his work turns into and investigation of reductive abstraction and its capacity as a vehicle for meaning — or lack of.
In Monochrome (Sleeper Cells) (2007), Deleget uses the same white paint of the gallery walls and a roller to paint over a trio of mirrored paper surfaces. Inspired by the slapdash over-painting of graffiti by landlords hasty to obliterate the illicit signatures of street artists, Deleget turns the gesture on himself. In an active of artistic self-effacement, or rather defacement, Deleget circumvents any attempt to read expressive content in the work. A coat of white paint denies the reflection of the mirrored surface save for the edges that peek from underneath serving only as a reminder of what is being rejected. The surface that had served as a mirror for both the artist and world is here rendered mute and impassive. Refusing to divulge any information, these paintings offer instead only a stoic silence. Or, in the words of Cage, “I have nothing to say and I’m saying it.”
Variety Trumps Argument at the Bronx River Art Center
By Stephen Maine
April 23, 2011
“…Matthew Deleget’s work resides toward the other end of abstraction’s spectrum as the realization, on a painted surface, of a preconceived procedural idea. The colors in Shuffle (for Grandmaster Flash) (2011) are selected at random—yellow, pink, fluorescent orange and copper predominate—and arranged by means of a predetermined system of recombination within a four-by-four unit grid. Abstraction as perceptual research, Shuffle is an extreme instance of the empirical attitude that underlies much of the work in the show, which is alert to pictorial strategies rather than intent on fetishizing subjectivities…”
Installation view with works by Cordy Ryman, Matthew Deleget, EJ Hauser, Jered Sprecher, Tisch Abelow (l to r)
The Working Title at the Bronx River Art Center
By Andrew Russeth
16 Miles of String blog
April 7, 2011
“…A small square by Matt Deleget — titled Shuffle (for Grandmaster Flash), a tribute to the hip-hop legend who grew up in the surrounding community — contains far more punch than one would expect from a painting just 18 inches on each side. Filled with bright squares of pink, yellow, and orange, it holds up well against its sprightly neighbor, a Cordy Ryman put together with just a few wood blocks.
It’s a strange thing be in the neighborhood of Grandmaster Flash, just a few blocks from the late and legendary Fashion Moda, looking at contemporary art by artists whose work one usually sees in Chelsea, on the Lower East Side, or out in Brooklyn. Strange, but nice, with friends and acquaintances brought together en masse in a new context…”
Image (left to right):
Cordy Ryman, Vector, 2010
Enamel, shellac and epoxy on wood
36.25 x 33.5 inches
Matthew Deleget, Shuffle (for Grandmaster Flash), 2011
Acrylic, fluorescent and metallic acrylic on MDF
18 x 18 inches
Lost Painters Blog
March 12, 2011
Reductive Abstraction Art
By Cyril Foiret
March 3, 2011
A Slice of Splendor: Johnson Museum Showcases American Abstract Artists
by Wylie Schwartz
February 16, 2011
“…The spirit of the avant-garde, under which American abstract art came to exist, continues to manifest itself in much of the recent work on display. In Matthew Deleget’s War Monochromes (2007-11), six squares painted with fluorescent orange spray paint suggest the abstract potential for graffiti art; the radiant color spills off the canvas and onto the wall, evoking a recent trend in street art where abstract interventions rather than empirical messages or text open up exciting new realms of possibility…”
War Monochromes, 2011
Fluorescent orange spray paint on canvases and wall
Still Falling Hard for Art in Miami
by Elisa Turner
October 10, 2010
“…Eric and I made our way on to David Castillo Gallery, where I was so glad to catch Pepe Mar’s show, with its own lavishly-colored mini jungles of sculpture, and then it was up the street to Alejandra von Hartz Gallery, where I was simply dazzled by the very fab color combinations in the show “Color Climate: Matthew Deleget / David E. Peterson.” Alexandra explained to me how Deleget takes inspiration from the salsa musicians Fania All-Stars, and that each painting pays hommage to a specific musician. Since I was in a birthday party mood, I loved learning about this info…”
Installation view of Shuffle Paintings at Alejandra von Hartz Gallery, Miami, FL, 2010
Ten Artists Look at Monochromes Now
by John Hurrell
September 22, 2010
“…The projected DVD by David Sequeira shows two identical twins (or perhaps the artist in duplicate?) shaking hands while wearing superimposed monochromatic coloured shirts. The flickering optical bombardment of saturated colour is drolly amusing as an unstable foil to the enactment of a legal agreement, and this affability is a beautiful contrast to the violence of Matthew Deleget’s six panels positioned nearby. They are painted fluorescent yellow, and three have had their centres smashed out with a hammer.
Deleget’s action implies an antagonism to monochromes, if not a hostility to art in general, or perhaps the paint application of his own examples? He might be providing a gesture that is calculatedly open to any kind of interpretation, or he may simply be enraged by any implication of transcendental symbolism, or the hue yellow itself…”
Space Is the Place
A look back at the year in alternative art spaces and exhibitions
By Matt Morris
December 30, 2009
“Cincinnati’s vibrant community of alternative-exhibition spaces is my first love in this area. I am boastful of the innovations I witness in these unlikely places, where I not only exhibit my own installations but also, in several cases, help organize and curate exhibitions. I also write as an art critic for CityBeat and other publications, though I gracefully avoid reviewing my own endeavors, of course…
For me personally, as an artist, it has been a rewarding year. I have not only had the opportunity to exhibit in well-loved venues like Aisle Gallery but also been able to show — and come to know — less likely exhibition spaces, such as the stone staircase at Mount Auburn Presbyterian Church or the Campbell County Library…
Overall, these are what I found to be my the most moving alternative- and contemporary-art experiences in Cincinnati this year:
• Touch Faith at semantics (Nov. 7-28). Guest curator Jeffrey Cortland Jones brought together an accomplished set of artists from around the country to look at current practices in abstraction and painting. I will never forget the subtle and deeply moving monochrome “On the Back of a Hurricane (for Rudolf de Crignis),” [by Matthew Deleget] a simple blue rectangle that employed a plastic shopping bag for its color and texture…”
Matthew Deleget, On the Back of a Hurricane (for Rudolf de Crignis), 2008
Blue monochrome, blue plastic shopping bag mounted on panel
12 x 12 inches
MINUS SPACE at P.S.1
The James Kalm Report
November 2, 2008
Click image to watch. Interview begins at 6:55.
MINUS SPACE: The Art of Reduction
by Phong Bui
Reality Check Interview with Matthew Deleget
by Jackie Battenfield
The Artist’s Guide
Creative Reflections on War and Peace:
Pratt Alumni Survey the Experiences and Consequences of War through Written and Visual Accounts
Prattfolio: The Magazine of Pratt Institute
Featured my work “From Bad to Worse to Truly Terrible”, 2007.
“Although I would never consider myself a political artist, I have been terribly concerned about the War on Terror since 9/11 and it has been occupying a clear and central role in my work over the past few years. My installation From Bad to Worse to Truly Terrible is part of an ongoing series War Monochromes. The piece, which was shown in the Sideshow Gallery in Brooklyn in September 2007, references a quote from a U.S. soldier serving his N-th tour of duty in Iraq describing the deteriorating situation on the ground. The black-on-black monochromes in this installation, made by first painting the circular canvases matte black and then pouring gloss black paint over them, occupy the space somewhere between bullet holes and oil spills. I wanted the overall installation to approximate a pockmarked wall in a combat zone.”
The Front Row: Machine Learning at Gallery Sonja Roesch
Interview with Matthew Deleget, Henry Brown & Gilbert Hsiao
Houston Public Radio (KUHF.FM)
Thursday, April 24, 2008
Technology in the Arts Guest Blogger
Center for Arts Management & Technology
Carnegie Mellon University
February 18-29, 2008
Intelligent Design, by John Goodrich
New York Sun
December 27, 2007
Review of Machine Learning exhibition
“Matthew Deleget approaches the concept of reductive abstraction with a pluralistic approach. While reductive art is generally characterized by its use of plain materials, limited color, geometry or pattern, precise craftsmanship and intellectual rigor, his definition of reductive art is “anything and can be about anything”. His works incorporate painting, process art and installation in a direct, matter-of-fact manner that eschews gimmickry and novelty and absorbs, digests and reacts to concepts and experiences we are confronted with in our daily environment.”
“Material Matter also addresses the flawed yet common assumption that abstract art avoids political or social commentary. “From Bad to Worse to Truly Terrible” speak to this notion. The components of Matthew Deleget’s piece — gently curved circular canvases — sugget black holes, bullet holes, or something else sinister.”
Neighborhood Beat: Profile on MINUS SPACE
BCAT / Brooklyn Community Access Television
January 25, February 14, 19, 23, 2007
“Matthew Deleget zeigt seine grosse 32-teilige Wandarbeit “Red, Red, Red, Redder than Red”. Alle Mittelteile der querformatigen Blätter wurden mittels Roller mit Kadmiumrot eingefärbt. Horizontale Streifen am oberen und unteren Blattrand sind mit dem Pinsel in einer weiteren Farbe bemalt. Der Titel der Arbeit is einem Song Bob Marleys entliehen. Das Rot hat soghafte Wirkung; es schmerzt den Blick, erinnert an die grelle Sonne des Südens, ist für die Künstler aber auch die Farbe von Brooklyn, von wo die beiden herkommen. Skulpturale Malerei und Interaktion der Farben sind ihre Themen. Durch die Reduktion auf wenige Formen und Farben, mit denen die flexibel, erneurnd und dialogisch umgehen, gelingt ihnen eine logische Weiterführung der abstahierenden Malerei.”
“But application is forthright in the work of Matthew Deleget, whose ongoing “Case Study” series, started in 2003, consists of four-by-four-foot paintings with a rolled-on ground color, and four smoothly brushed, twelve-by-twelve-inch squares in a pungently contrasting color, like brick red on aqua, or hot orange on a profoundly deep blue. They are deployed across the surface like tiles in a board game, in some cases giving rise to additional squares as negative shapes.”
“In works from his Case Study series (2005), Matthew Deleget creates reductive paintings loosely modeled after the forms, designs, and concepts of the avant-garde, architectural Case Study House (CSH) program (1945-1960). The CSH program represents America’s most significant contribution to mid-century architecture and continues to have, to this day, influence as a reductive yet experimental system for innovative design and constuction. Working with acrylic on unprimed wood and smooth linen, Deleget builds up his surfaces with colors to create what he calls “painted structures”. After these “painted structures” are created, he then makes visual adjustments. These works reflect an interest in pattern, geometry, and architecture, referencing domestic elements sch as swimming pools, driveways, rooflines, and terraced gardens. With attention to structural design and form, Deleget draws from personal experience and nostalgic reflections to create work that has a low-tech, visceral quality. Deleget creates what he calls “social abstractions.” His paintings are not only inspired by the CSH program as it relates to popular culture today. On a deeper level, it is his belief, made evident by his evocative titles such as Case Study – Heathen (2005), Case Study – Villian (2005), and Case Study – Outsider (2005), that his work can also be understood as indicative of a critical, analytic position.”
“Matthew Deleget uses the positiveness of the geometric sign to lure us into the familiar territory of architectural recall only to suddenly immerse us in fields of unusual hue selections that are not necessarily informed by color wheel organizations, and perplexing figure/field reversals.”
“…Also geometrically rigid are the paintings of Matthew Deleget, which are partly influenced by minimalist architecture. By organizing his compositions according to precise relationships, Deleget builds a visual vocabulary of remarkable clarity and rigor that still bares the sense of color vital to abstract painting.”
“…our neighborhood’s own ‘advocates of Minimalism’ Rossana Martínez and husband Matthew Deleget…”
“The David Allen Gallery features the work of Charles and Ray Eames, known for their modern furniture designs, that combine style, art, and usefulness. The artists, who worked from the 1940s to 1970s as a couple serve as an inspiration to Martinez and Deleget, who are showing together for the first time in ten years. Most appealing to Deleget and Martinez was the Eames’ “Case Study House #8,” where their own home was meshed with their studio and was built on principles of low-cost, yet high-design.
“They had this great idea for their exhibition to incorporate aspects of the gallery, as we are a home and furniture retailer,” said Amy Schmersal, gallery manager. “Matthew and Rossana admire them and take a lot of inspiration from them. They are exploring what to live and work in a space together as a couple is.”
Included in “Home” will be two spatial installations by Martinez and Deleget’s Case Study House series. Both involve a strong use of color and incorporate a sense of architecture to their designs. While Martínez’s focus is more on urban home and planning using materials found in the home, Deleget’s idea is the home using geometric painting.
“We have been working together in the same studio. We usually work at the same time. We really share this space and also while we are creating or thinking about possible works we are always communicating and talking to each other,” said Martinez. She described their home as a laboratory where they live with and install their artwork, as well as other fellow artists’ work. Each piece is almost a puzzle that fits into the framework of the house.
“We are combining all these things and making it, like a balanced way of living,” she said. Deleget added, “Our vision of all of this is to really be holistic. We envision the artistic project individually and combined.”
He continued, “It is an experimental ground for creation. We really look to the Eameses as sort of a roll model for that. They thought about things holistically — their home and are are one.” They explore what home means here and internationally, as well as what it means to critique and curate each others work.
Living in Brooklyn is also an added benefit to these artists’ idea of home, as there are so many different artisans and craftspeople in the borough at this very moment. “Brooklyn is a tremendously creative and vibrant city. We are really invested in this community,” said Deleget. “So one of the things is identifying ourselves as Brooklyn people, Brooklyn artists inventing ourselves in the community.”
Taking this idea of what it means to be American, using utopian high-end design and high-art, “Home” brings this message to the masses — something that began with the Eameses.
Artist from around the world who share these ideas with Martínez and Deleget have taken part in another curatorial, critical project on www.minusspace.com. The site features essays, works and critical reviews of more than 30 artists exhibiting in the international community.”
“Deleget does drawings. To begin, he hovers over the blank paper and prepares his mind. He focuses and envisions (as an example) the fabric of space as a map of grids for reference points. Space without reference points is, of course unimaginable, except in the state of meditation where being and nothingness become one. Space appears to be warped according to the physicists. Matthew Deleget, however is dealing with conceptual space, a classical Kantian world where reason is imposed upon the world giving it order. Putting pen and ink to paper Matthew expresses with elegance what his mind has created. He does this with colors and patterns which suggest the calm elegance of mathematical thought, the unperturbed pure world of essences and closed systems of pure reason, a priori analytic thought…a world unto itself totally unaware of other worlds. To view Matthew’s work is to be drawn into this rarefied beauteous world. The question arises in critical circles: has intelligence replaced beauty? Not here, beauty abounds! Reneé Dumal wrote of Mount Analogue and Matthew has envisioned it’s peak: “Oh high, remote in the sky, above and beyond successive circles of increasingly lofty peaks, lies the utmost pinnacle of Mount Analogue. There, he who sees each thing accomplished in its beginning and in it’s end resides unto himself. The “art” for both Deleget…is as much the “act” of creating it as is the product itself, perhaps more so.”
“Matthew Deleget evokes the decorative leanings of Agnes Martin and Sol Lewitt with a grid of white geometric drawings on black paper…”
“Matthew Deleget threads strings of silver hyphens across a black ground to create a kind of radiant, handmade Minimalism, at once rigorous and personable.”
“Several artists seen in the exhibition are worthy of mainstage attention, among them…Matthew Deleget. Some have gone on to bigger things. They all look good here. And they are all part of an important history.”
“Matthew Deleget also makes grids, but his are alphabetic. Block letters laid onto grids according to various plans produce subtle patterns created by the different letter shapes.”
“Matthew Deleget’s paintings and drawings reflect his interest in infinite universal spaces, creating detailed patterns to describe them.”
“With a poetic ransacking of the universe, Matthew Deleget uses his images to erase the boundaries between the physical, psychic, and spiritual experience. Deleget’s premise is that the material universe is knowable only through pattern, i.e. form and proportion, rather than through matter, i.e. particles or quanta. In other words, shape and harmony define the universe, rather than units or quantities. Pattern and configurations combine to create a new level of understanding about the energy and structure of infinite space in the universe. His Cosmic Volume, of 1998, is an example of the cosmos perceived as form and proportion. Using silver metallic ink on black handmade paper, Deleget evokes a cosmic construct that is at once compact and airy, pristine and brilliant. His Red Cosmic Temple, also of 1998, adds subtle organic variation to the effects of light, color, and pattern. The vivid color of his Stellar Radiation, of 1998, creates a spectacular burst of energy that is both vibrant and intricate.”
“And drawing takes a bow in Matthew Deleget’s radiating Op-artish abstractions…”
“Matthew Deleget, along with six other graduate Fine Art students, took part in the five-week Fine Arts Symposium in which each student formally presented their art work to the student body and faculty at Pratt by mounting a group exhibition, accompanied by slide presentations tracing their backgrounds, artistic development, and the concepts behind their work. For the following four weeks, predominant art critics conducted formal evaluations of the students’ work…Peter Schjeldahl likened Matthew’s drawings to “tantric wallpaper” or “apocalyptic interior design.”
“Undoubtedly the most interesting and innovative artist in the group is Matt Deleget ’94. Deleget experiments with space and the underlying symmetry of emptiness. The viewer will be struck by the sense of depth and space that the artist is capable of achieving in his works. Deleget’s imagination ventures into the implicit, unseen “structure of space,” a realm where invisible patterns create an abstract framework around emptiness. Working mainly with ink and handmade paper, Deleget uses simple recurring patterns to create three dimensional space. There is a sense of vastness and a taste of infinity in his works, the pure harmony of a simple periodic wave.
While painting is an intensely personal experience, focusing on minute blocks of space and ensuring their uniformity reflects Deleget’s phenomenal ability to pay close attention to miniscule detail, not unlike a deeply personal meditation. “Pattern in my work,” says Deleget, “is a mapping device used to make visible the underlying unseen structure of space. Together, the patterns form a greater lingua cosmica.”
One is struck by Deleget’s ability to use repeating patterns with such profound visual effect. According to Deleget, the sensation that he seeks in his artistic journey is the feeling of “creating, infinite, undifferentiated space.” From sets of concentric circles to the ordered geometry of intersecting straight lines, Deleget’s works bring forth a calm harmony, the comfortable certainty of a mechanical universe with carefully engineered parts. These works seem to combine the classical geometry of medieval scientists with the abstract indefinite chaos of postmodernism, a truly commendable achievement…His work is sublime, like an uplifting prayer – beautiful, harmonious, and worth of admiration.”