The moment you see Matt Corrado’s artwork you can’t help but feel an unspoken message being said loud and clear. That message—one of balance, one of refinement, one of serious detail in a pop art style known for its deconstruction—is as much a testament to Corrado’s skill as it is to his growth as an artist.
“When you look at some of my earlier stuff where I just began playing around with this style, you’ll see glimpses of elements that play an important part in this show,” Corrado says he looks around the studio. “The previous work was a wider scope of my style, but as I’ve played around longer in this world I’m starting to zoom in a little on certain parts.”
Corrado’s “Balancing Act” solo exhibition at Blind Whino, which runs November 24 to January 6, is a culmination of the previous five years that have seen the Kensington-based artist introduce elements into his work extending behind the physical limitations of canvas; “Balancing Act” introduces three-dimensional pieces into a colorful landscape that ripples with structured compositions elevated by loose spray techniques.
“In some of the pieces, I’m combining a more loose spray technique paired with cleaner styles. I’m always looking to push what I can do and explore new ways so I don’t become stagnant,” Corrado says. “Introducing new elements into my work is always fun, and something that I’m always trying to do. You can see that with the three dimensional pieces throughout the exhibit.”
Rife with elements of graffiti, especially in Corrado’s use of leveled gradients, “Balancing Act” is also an homage to one of Corrado’s earliest inspirations: the graffiti plastering the walls lining the northern sections of Metro’s Red Line near Takoma Park. This exhibit is about locality, growth, and a the role of art in communicating both.
Matt Corrado’s “Balancing Act” runs November 24 to January 6. Check out Blind Whino for more details.
Brightest Young Things: What was the the idea behind the theme for the show?
Matt Corrado: I haven’t done a solo show since 2015 or 2016. So it’s been a little while.
BYT: Was that show in D.C.?
Matt Corrado: No, actually the last one was at Adah Rose Gallery right here in Kensington [Maryland]. And then I’ve done a couple shows since then, but nothing with this amount of effort, and not like a solo show.
I’ve been wanting to do something, but I was just trying to find the right space. I’ve known Ian [Callender] (owner of Blind Whino) for a few years now; we’ve done a couple products together. He presented the opportunity for me to do a show in the space.
BYT: Did the space guide the theme?
Matt Corrado: So that was kind of like, “Okay, well, I have the space.” I wanted to do a cohesive show, something I would probably consider to be the most legitimate show I’ve done so far, at least in terms of the size and the scope.
So as far as the theme, the work is pretty consistent with the style and visual world I’ve been creating but I wanted to dive into more immersive space; you could have a mural inside or another kind of installation paired with 3D elements and painted objects.
BYT: It seems like having the different objects in the same place reflects in the name of the show [Balancing Act].
Matt Corrado: The name of the show works on a couple levels. I feel like my work in general is a lot about balance. I was always a more traditional illustrator, but as I began painting more pop art material, it became less about the subject matter, and more about the composition, color, and balance.
Balance always sort of a theme in my work; I like to have well-balanced composition with strong lines. But there’s a lot of push and pull happening with organic shapes and waves mixed with hard edges and crisp lines. There’s a juxtaposition to the work, but it extends to a more personal level too. The balancing of composition is also the balancing of life of being an artist, an entrepreneur, a business owner. I also have a family and kids, so it’s about balancing your passion and working hard but being realistic about what you can do.
The idea of balance is there on multiple levels. Even the process of making the work forces a balance outside of simply creating art.
BYT: There is a level of refinement to your work that forces someone looking at it to consider each detail as an intentional component. The gradients in your pieces give off the idea that you really sought to communicate the idea of balance without actually saying it.
Matt Corrado: Yea, I think that comes naturally in my work, especially in areas where I’m trying something different. In some of the pieces, I’m combining a more loose spray technique paired with cleaner styles. I’m always looking to push what I can do and explore new ways so I don’t become stagnant. Introducing new elements into my work is always fun, and something that I’m always trying to do. You can see that with the three dimensional pieces throughout the exhibit.
BYT: How does this exhibit relate to your preview shows? Does it exist on its own or is it a natural evolution of what you’ve done before?
Matt Corrado: I would definitely say it’s on a path because I still feel like the art exists in the same linear world that started about 5 years ago. When you look at some of my earlier stuff where I just began playing around with this style, you’ll see glimpses of elements that play an important part in this show. The previous work was a wider scope of my style, but as I’ve played around longer in this world I’m starting to zoom in a little on certain parts.
BYT: How has growing up in the area influenced your art?
Matt Corrado: I’ve been making art for as long as I can remember. When I was 11 or 12, I started to take classes out in Glen Echo which I meant I took the Metro Red Line a lot. I love riding the Red Line because when you get to Takoma Park there’s also this graffiti along the way. I remember when I was 10 seeing “Cool Disco Dan” everywhere, and thinking that’s amazing. I was never a graffiti guy but I always inspired by that world.
But when it comes to D.C., I didn’t become active in the art scene or start meeting people until 5 years ago because before my office [in Kensington, MD] was an office I actually had it as small gallery and event space. It was called Foundation, and I did that for 2-3 years. I started to really miss creating art for art’s sake around that time. Having that space really pushed me to always create new stuff and allowed me the space to connect with other artists who wanted to showcase their work. And it was around that time too that the D.C. art scene really started to pick up again; a community of like-minded creatives started to establish itself.
This is home for me.