Artist of the day #61: Andrew Masullo

I have been trying to not let myself off with weak answers to the why’s, how’s and what’s of the art I look at. I wanted to say I like the work of Andrew Masullo because it is fun and simple and has interesting colors, but I think it is more complex than that. I think in a lot of ways, it comes down to me as an individual. I say this because I think he is an artist I don’t necessarily expect other people to like, and I certainly don’t expect them to like him for the reasons I do.

The first and possibly biggest reason I like him, is because it reminds me of work I enjoy doing from time to time. Sometimes I find it fun to just to just play with colors and different geometric shapes. I find it relaxing to keep things clean, with sharp edges, and no blending of colors, just solid fields.  If you haven’t tried it you should, it’s cheaper than therapy and probably more effective. So when I look at his paintings I think of an artist of a kindred spirit, someone who thinks like I think. I also find aspects of his work funny. He works in oils, but he never blends his colors, somehow ignoring the main reason most artists choose to work in oils. Also, the images he creates could be created in moments on drawing programs as simple as Microsoft Paint, but he chooses to work with the physical paint to make something real.

The last main reason I like him, is he works on modest sized canvases, rarely bigger than 20 inches in any dimension. If you can fit an interesting idea and concept into something you can hold with one hand, why not. As the artist himself puts it, “I like the idea that I can carry around an entire exhibit with me in a duffle bag.” There are too many artists I come across where the only thing I find interesting in their work is the size of the canvas. It is trying to compensate in physical size for what it lacks in conceptual depth. This is surely not to say that giant paintings can’t be great, but there should just be more to a work of Art than its enormity.

Masullo doesn’t want you to use the word “abstract” when talking about his pieces, his work is non-conceptual. He does not begin with looking at things from real life, and then distort them onto the canvas. He is creating a world of rules and ideas all unto its own. These rules might seems senseless, but there is a sense of order in his paintings, it’s not chaos. It has this balance of random order like so many other things we come across in life; the flow of traffic, crowds on subways, or weather patterns. These are situations that the lines between random occurrence and calculated patterns, to me anyhow, seem split down the middle.

Not sure what else to say, and maybe that’s lazy of me, but there’s a good point or two in there right? Anyhow, a chunk of Masullo’s work can be seen as a part of this year’s Whitney Biennial. Check it out, or go out and buy some paint and copy it, or go get a haircut you damn hippie.


3 comments

  1. Hello —

    Thanks for thinking about my work and writing about it.

    If I may make one correction in your text: you’re right that my paintings aren’t abstract, but my paintings are non-objective, not “non-conceptual” as you have written!

    I like your idea about Microsoft Paint — that I choose to work out my composition in actual paint rather than on a computer (oil paint is so much more lovely and alive than computer-work). Since working in oil paint is such a slow process I think my compositions are very different (for better or worse) than they’d be if I figured them out on the computer. Many of the paintings take months to make (there is a lot of drying time in between the many “failed” attempts) and because of that you’ll find underpainting and built-up surfaces showing up in the finished paintings — something that even Microsoft Paint cannot duplicate!

    Andrew Masullo

    • Thanks for finding the piece. Sorry I got that little bit wrong, something got switched in my head when I went from the article about you that I read, to when I to write my own piece.

      If you don’t mind me asking, how did you come across the piece I wrote? I am always curious of how new people come to find what I write. I try to write about different artists almost everyday. I post the pieces here, on my personal blog: lettersismadeofletters.com, and I send out e-mails to people I know. If you would like to be added to that list, I would be honored to have you on it.


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