P A I N T I N G S is Michael Venezia’s seventh exhibition at Galerie Greta Meert. Presenting block paintings from the Fornari series along with smaller works on palettes, this exhibition highlights Venezia’s long-standing interest in historical methods of paint application. Throughout his career, constant inquiry into various methods of applying paint lead him to create highly idiosyncratic paintings that follow a minimalist logic of reduction while simultaneously drawing from a wide range of pictorial traditions.
Whether it is the effect created by the saturation of spray paint on canvas and paper, or the brush and palette knife effects of paint applied to narrow wooden blocks, Venezia always approaches painting as a mean to conjure a sensation for the eye – a perceptual experience more than a conceptual one. In considering painting as both an object and an action, he tries to avoid anticipating the final result. Instead, he conduces procedures and manoeuvres from which the painting emerges to exist in the present as a physical object.
In this recent series of palettes, he contemplates the painterly object as the historical point of departure for color. Here, the palette is the painting, and the color has arrived. When the action consisting in the application of paint becomes the painting itself, the dialectic between the durational quality of the process and the material condition of the finished object becomes central. Efficiently occupying an ambiguous space between painting and sculpture, Venezia’s work also blurs historical boundaries between the interrelated yet exclusive legacies of abstract expressionism and minimalism. The block paintings and the palettes represent two different kinds of works on wooden support where the materiality of the paint comes to foreground the sensual quality of Venezia’s paintings.