Friday, 17 May 2019

Matt Antoniak at Workplace Foundation

"Scribbles, doodles and throwaway marks made by customers testing out pens and pencils at an art materials store in Newcastle upon Tyne have been secretly hoarded behind the counter by Matt Antoniak whilst an employee over the last few years.

Black Cactus

Rescued from the recycling bin these miniature works have been consistently archived and documented by the artist and given new status through his diligent and precise recreations in paint on canvas. These recent works shown for the first time at Workplace Foundation see an increase in scale, the monumentality of these paintings purposefully challenging the authoritative register of modern art.

Antoniak’s earnest endeavor is sharply contrasted by the unintentional artlessness and bathos of the subject matter and naivety of the imagery. Through such strategies he seeks to evade moralistic traps of art and high-culture and move towards a wholly aesthetic liberation."

The walls of the gallery have been liberated by Antoniak. Opposite a bright blue wall there is a orange/red wall, and the remaining two walls have been given a grey wash. This has the effect of making the gallery space seem homely, warm and cosy, whereas it is usually cold and can be a little intimidating. The whole exhibition is very inviting and welcoming, picking up on seemingly insignificant or throw away marks, and by enlarging the expressive and playful marks, it allows us, the viewer to take pleasure from the joy of free mark-making, colour and play.

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