A Very Happy Couple
This painting depicts the titular very happy couple. The composition references portraits taken in the 1960s at the grounds of state fairs. The work is similar to something found at a thrift store or estate sale, rather than an officially authored portrait.
After substantial commercial success and subsequent disenchantment with the art world, Matt Momchilov took nearly a decade’s hiatus from his art practice. This painting is part of a new body of work that is an experiment in unlearning. The artist's new compositions are an inquiry into a kind of creative sustenance that champions pleasure and play, spontaneity and imperfection, curiosity and surprise. The resulting paintings focus on joy and stand apart from a medium inundated—and often strangled by—rigor. They are portraits of tender and effusive characters drawn from the mall, the spirit world and the mythical American West. Though masterful in technique and stroke, these figures are awkward but riveting; they arrive in a raw palette of ketchup reds and sandstone grays, with contrasting pops and strips of jewel tones and raggedy patterns. The unfinished nature of Momchilov's canvases are a giant middle finger to a status quo who worships the bottom line, and to a past self whose inner critic held court. Opting for a soft grip over a heavy hand, Momchilov enters another dimension when he’s painting. The artist chooses to discover, not invent, saying of his characters: “I let them make me laugh. I let them tell me what’s next.”
Matt Momchilov’s paintings are tender and effusive portraits of characters drawn from diverse walks of life—including the mall, the spirit world and the mythical American West. Opting for a soft grip over a heavy hand, the artist’ work depicts awkward but riveting figures in a raw palette contrasted with jewel tones and raggedy patterns. The unfinished nature of Momchilov’s compositions keep them in a constant state of becoming, while simultaneously serving as a giant middle finger to the marketplace status quo and its worship of the bottom line.
Matt Momchilov was born in 1986.
Solo exhibitions of Momchilov’s work have taken place at: NOON Projects in Los Angeles, California (2022); Unspeakable Projects in San Francisco, California (2013 and 2011); Live with Animals in Brooklyn, New York (2011); The Painted Bird in Los Angeles, California (2011 and 2007); and the California College of the Arts in San Francisco, California (2008).
Group exhibitions that have included Momchilov’s work have taken place at: Hair + Nails in Minneapolis, Minnesota (2022); the California College of the Arts in the Bay Area of California (2015); Buffalo Magazine Press in Madrid, Spain (2013); Gensler, at a show curated by Jessica Silverman, in San Francisco, California (2011); and the Eleanor Harwood Gallery in San Francisco, California (2009)
The artist has been featured in various publications, including: the cover of New American Paintings #103 in 2013; Juxtapoz; and Buffalo Magazine.
Momchilov’s work is held in numerous private collections across the United States and Europe.
Momchilov lives and works in Los Angeles, California.
This painting depicts the titular very happy couple. The composition references portraits taken in the 1960s at the grounds of state fairs. The work is similar to something found at a thrift store or estate sale, rather than an officially authored portrait.More