CANADA is pleased to present Fellow Feeling by RJ Messineo, the artist’s first solo show in New York. Through muscular mark-making and small improvisational gestures, these paintings convey a hardscrabble version of reductive abstraction. Playing with the transformative nature of materials, Messineo combines sections of thick, scumbling paint with areas of atmospheric color that allude to qualities of light.
The paintings in Fellow Feeling meditate on Messineo’s daily interactions with her immediate surroundings: a bedroom window, dirty stairwell, a pre-fab, Home Depot-style front door in the late afternoon. Although this source material is never fully in the foreground, we intuit the source and Messineo’s drive to acknowledge and move away from it at the same time. In further acts of intervention and augmentation, Messineo carves into the painting surface or attaches plywood shapes directly to the canvas.
The degree of abstraction Messineo brings to her images asserts a desire to push past the facts of environment, the format of the canvas, and past the rules of anything but her specific and idiosyncratic pictorial logic. In this way, Messineo creates a tension between pictorality and concrete reality; various capacities to depict and to dispute are held contiguously.
RJ Messineo (b. 1980, Hartford, CT) received an MFA from the University of California, Los Angeles and a BFA from Cornell University in Ithaca, NY. Messineo has been included in exhibitions at James Cohan Gallery, New York; Ceysson et Benetiere, Luxembourg; Artist Curated Projects, Redling Fine Art, REDCAT Gallery, all in Los Angeles. An interview between Tom Burr and Messineo is forthcoming in BOMB Magazine online.