4/26/2014

Strange Beauty: Matteo Massagrande

Italian artist Matteo Massagrande's (b. 1959) paintings of room interiors in various states of decay are haunted by the past, yet mesmerizingly beautiful. The sizes are surprisingly small (some of these paintings are just 12 inches square), and often with a dramatically exaggerated perspective. Although the artist has rendered these ruined spaces with precise detail, his delicate depiction of light filtering through the windows and gently filling the rooms is pure poetry. These paintings aren't exactly nostalgic, existing very much in the present, but clearly they honor memory and the passage of time.

Interested in drawing and painting since a young child, Massagrande enrolled at the Fine Arts Academy in Venice in 1977, but was fiercely disappointed by the instruction he received from his painting teacher, an abstract artist. Later he met Giorgio De Chirico in Venice, who he says provided more real help and encouragement.

Massagrande seems to be quite prolific, having had over 100 exhibits since his first in 1973, yet these paintings look like they must take at least weeks to finish. 

Interno V  oil on board 12"x12" 2014


The Red Room oil on board 2011


Interno VIII  oil on board 12"x12" 2014


Interno II 20"x20" oil on board 2014


Poggiolo mixed technique on wood 31.5"x31.5" 

I spent many hours haunting the Civic Museum and churches in Treviso when I was a child and I got locked in at night several times by mistake. My father became convinced that there was something wrong with me psychologically.
I tend to construct my images in sections, working minutely on each one. And I build up textures and patinas, almost as if I am restoring my own work. 
I sometimes feel more like an architect than a painter of pictures.- Matteo Massagrande

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