Joanne Mattera

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Joanne Mattera returns with her fourth solo exhibition at Marcia Wood Gallery and her twenty-sixth career solo exhibition. Mattera will present a new series of work that she terms chromatic geometries. The series title, "Diamond Life" refers to the geometric shapes of some of the actual paintings, the diamond pattern on others and the diamond like quality achieved when light hits the diagonal grain of the surface, causing color to become deep and luminous.

A breakthrough moment in the summer of 2010 was the genesis of Joanne Mattera's new series of paintings and works on paper entitled "Diamond Life". The artist has identified geometric order, along with color, as the two main concerns that have engaged her throughout her practice. Repeated pattern elements within a grid define the structure of the composition within which layers of saturated color are applied to create optical depth and surface tactility. Mattera has called her work "lush minimalism" in a tongue and cheek reference to the dichotomy of the two terms and the happy co-existence of both concepts in her work. As one writer observes " “Minimalist artists used the grid to downplay the sensuality of color and brushstrokes. The austerity helped focus the viewer’s attention on pigment as pigment, line as line—a primary concern of 60’s minimalism. Joanne Mattera has a different agenda. She uses grids the way classical poets used rigorous rhyme schemes: to impose elegant order onto an otherwise messy outpouring of emotion.” -- Staff review, The Week (New York City), 2003.

In the new work the grid has been turned on it's point to reassert itself as a diamond shape and marks a turning point in the artist's practice. As one of six artists to participate in the publication of "Pull", a portfolio published by Marcia Wood Gallery in June 2010, Mattera created the print "Soie". Based on an ongoing series of paintings of layers of translucent encaustic called "Silk Road", the print image is a square of glowing emerald green, created by printing two identical square plates at opposite angles - thus alternating the vertical and horizontal layers of brush strokes to create a subtle grid, like a weave, or piece of silk. At the moment of deciding whether to orient the square image on the paper vertically or horizontally, the studio director, studying the right angle positioning, reached out and made a slight turn with his hand, and looked at Mattera with raised eyebrows. The print was placed on the paper as a diamond and upon return to her studio the artist created a series of diamond-shaped grids in gouache on paper, then went on to create a series of small square paintings in encaustic on panel that are positioned on the wall in the same 45-degree orientation. Mattera states that she thinks of the Diamond Life paintings as chromatic geometries rather than color fields. As ever, whether gouache on paper or encaustic on panel, Mattera's works are luminous meditations on geometry, light and color with a sensual tangibility.

Joanne Mattera earned a BFA in Painting from the Massachusetts College of Art, Boston, and an MA in Visual Arts from Goddard College, Plainfield, Vermont. She has been painting for 30 years, exhibiting regularly throughout the United States. She is the author of The Art of Encaustic Painting; Contemporary Expression in an Ancient Medium, which has become the standard reference on the subject. Her work is in the collections of The Montclair Art Museum, Montclair, NJ, Connecticut College, Print Collection, New London, CT, University Libraries Collection, State University of New York at Albany, U.S. Embassies, Slovenia and Poland, and the Consulate of Brunei, among others. Her extensive bibliography includes approximately one-hundred books, periodicals, catalogs, essays and online reviews.