Matthew Palladino has taken up multiple mediums, and considers each new shift as “another mutation of the thing that came before it.” Palladino first became known for his works in watercolor, ink on paper, and acrylic paint. He then moved on to three-dimensional reliefs, made in part from candy molds. Both his two- and three-dimensional works share a biting humor, variations on grid-based compositions, references to pop culture and art history, and optical illusions that distort spatial relationships. He cites his main influences as Margaret Kilgallen, Chris Johanson, and Barry McGee.
Another one of our favorites, Matthew Palladino, just opened a new solo show, Sweet Relief, at Eli Ridgway in San Francisco.
For Sweet Relief, Palladino utilizes sculptural relief to create painted objects that defy easy narrative understanding and categorization. Enamel coated plaster casts are made from commercial chocolate molds of nude figures, fruits, and assorted domestic objects. Both pre-fabricated and meticulously hand-made, Palladino repurposes these molds to produce sculptural reliefs that make visual reference to his paintings but extend literally into three dimensions. His deadpan reproduction of banal objects made twice functionless, removed by two degrees of separation from their original state as “familiar things,” highlights Palladino’s brand of dark humor that is an undercurrent of all his work. Because the molds themselves are made specifically for chocolate making (for making objects to be eaten), the resulting casts also function as a playful critique of the tenuous relationship between the artist as producer and the viewer or collector as consumer. Drawing upon the interplay between high and low-brow cultural production, “Sweet Relief” explores the histories of the ready-made and the hand-made, the naive and the sophisticated, painting and sculpture, and the infinite potential in between.