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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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…