Tuesday, January 27, 2009

ISBP Installment No. 13: Joanne Mattera

I'll consider this post lucky number 13. With Joanne Mattera's images and statement, it feels like this little project has come full circle. Joanne's visit to my studio prompted me to put my thoughts about the ISBP into words. (She was the one walking around snapping pix of my studio while I was thinking what a mess it was.)

Joanne writes:

I shot this picture of my studio, a former auto repair shop, in 2004. I had just finished two large paintings—capstones for two solo shows that would take place shortly—and, still in high gear, prepared a number of smaller panels for the next body of work. As is my wont, after a period of intense activity leading up to a show, I crash for a few days and then clean up the studio. There’s something cathartic about the process. (I wrote about that interim in a post called Post-Partum Abstraction.)

So you’re seeing the space in an unnaturally pristine way. It’s the physical embodiment of a Zen moment. When I’m sitting in this ordered, empty space, I can see the next body of work. It’s not a process I can describe; I just need to start with a clean slate.

You’ll notice that the brushes are not clean, however. I work primarily in encaustic. Wax paint never polymerizes, so when it’s heated, it’s workable again. I can melt off what’s there, wipe the brush clean, and dip it into the new palette—though I keep the brushes within color families. I have hundreds more brushes now, but they all look like this.

I’m not a north light purist. I’m perfectly happy to work with incandescent illumination, but I do like the diffused southern light that comes through the translucent overheads I had installed. I call them my “Gagosian doors.” (They are the only thing Larry and I have in common.)

The studio is in Massachusetts, just north of Boston. I had no intention of relocating my studio from New York, but on a whim while visiting the area, I looked at this building with its open space on the ground floor and a sky lit loft upstairs and a price that was actually affordable. I heard my mouth make an offer. The universe had quite literally delivered me to the doorstep. I also live in New York. It’s a long “commute,” but I do it in chunks, an almost perfect balance of life in the studio and life outside it.

Vicolo 52 2008
encaustic on panel 36 x 36 inches

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Nice story Joanne. And that completes my morning break.