The Collective Operation with Maciej Makalowski

HeLookedAtMeAsIfHeWereAboutToEatABigPeiceOfSteak
Maciej Makalowski        He Looked At Me As If He Were About To Eat A Big Piece Of Steak, 2010       Oil on panel

The stereotypical artist has been depicted as a loner, an outcast, staving in his/her studio, creating paintings from the dark depths of his/her soul.  While in some cases this is true, artists generally thrive off the collective experience of community and Maciej Makalowski is no exception. With his art practice exemplifying his collective lifestyle, or maybe it is the other way around, Makalowski draws on his surroundings as inspiration   for his visual narratives.

If you want to find Maciej Makalowski, your best bet is to begin at The Basement, a creative collective in the Mission that also gives roots to six artists in residence. He may be there, sifting through old photographs, working with some paint and/or clipping scenes from early 90’s flicks.  If he isn’t at The Basement, try him at home, in his communal San Francisco flat.  Not there? Then head over to one of three community non-profits.  Maybe even swing by SFAI, he may be in a classroom teaching photography. Don’t want to run all over San Francisco to find Maciej? Hop on Facebook and search for Jaciej Odelowski. Here you will find a hilarious amalgamation of Maciej and artist Jenny Odell. While the combination of these spheres  point to a dedicated niche lifestyle, there is much to be said about Makalowski’s ability to seamlessly integrate a variety of San Francisco institutions to propel his art practice.

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Nearly two years ago, Maciej Makalowski received his MFA from SFAI where he formulated the following statement: “Life is dismal. I find comfort in fraudulent nostalgia, made-up memories, and sarcastic spirituality.” This mantra speaks to the humor and awkwardness often found in his choice of subjects and is confirmed by the sarcastic whit of his titles.

Maciej Makalowski  Revenge of a Mediocre Society, 2011  Oil on panel - sold
Maciej Makalowski Revenge of a Mediocre Society, 2011 Oil on panel – sold
Maciej Makalowski  Two, 2010    Oil on canvas
Maciej Makalowski         Two, 2010      Oil on canvas
Maciej Makalowski, installation view of Vernissage, 2011
Maciej Makalowski, Installation view of SFAI Vernissage, 2011

While Makalowski’s practice begins with photography his work takes final form as paintings, books, films, and collages. When looking at the work as a whole, Makalowski’s concepts emerge individually yet somehow all lead to the discussions of how the images becomes reactivated by contemporary culture.

New paintings begin as acetone photo-transfers of obscure scenarios. In contrast to the full-framed format of Makalowski’s earlier works, this new body is unusual with its elongated size.

Maciej Makalowski    Untitled, 2013        Mixed media on canvas
Maciej Makalowski          A Real Past to the State of Happiness Series, 2013
Photo copy, colored pencil, and oil paint on canvas
Maciej Makalowski    Untitled, 2013        Mixed media on canvas
Maciej Makalowski             A Real Past to the State of Happiness Series, 2013
Photo copy, colored pencil, and oil paint on canvas

It seems the white space surrounding the image is not only a technique for engagement, but visually enlarges the postcard size photo-transfer beyond its true dimensions. The raw markings from the colored pencil initially read as a haphazard gesture however, after sitting with the image the marks become overtly intentional. Well-executed use of color against the softness of the dulling pencil, the marks begin to favor the overall mood of the work.

Maciej
Maciej Makalowski     A Real Past to the State of Happiness Series, 2013
Photo copy, colored pencil, and oil paint on canvas

In contrast to his paintings, Makalowski‘s candid photographs reveal an intense honesty about his subjects. These snapshots explore feminine grit, coupled by confrontation of a fearless liberated culture. While these Polaroid’s reiterate the instantaneous pleasure of the moment, they will fade with time. While part of the nature of the Polaroid, we are glad these photos have been preserved in book form.

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Tightly sequenced, Makalowski’s books condense his photo collections into hand held compilations of voyeuristic intimacy. The photographs as a group create a visual narrative that reveals a timeless seduction. These editioned books can be purchased through Colpa Press.

Occult Beauty, 2011 Book of Polaroids Hard cover, edition of 10 signed
Occult Beauty, 2011
Book of Polaroids
Hard cover, edition of 10 signed
Occult Beauty, 2011 Soft cover, edition of 100 signed
Occult Beauty, 2011
Soft cover, edition of 100 signed

Without getting to far ahead, Makalowski’s newest works-in-progress is a collage series of movie scenes from 80’s and 90’ films. Currently, the splicing of these clips is an exploration and has yet to solidify.

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Makalowski’s work has been featured in New American Paintings ed. 93, included in New Wave at the Kadist, SF CA and seen in numerous group and solow exhibitions in San Francisco and Los Angeles.  Pop over to Edicola newsstand, on the corner of Market and 6th in SF, to purchase one of his books.  In addition, we  will be including a series of Makalowski’s collages in our September exhibition. More announcements to come.

And we leave you with this…

Nothing Compares to You

Maciej Makalowski,   Nothing Compares to You, 2013   Oil on panel
Maciej Makalowski        Nothing Compares to You, 2013         Oil on panel