“If Andrew Masullo’s truculent, hard-won but nonetheless joyful paintings can be said to involve a family of forms — and they can — you could also say that many of its members appear to be adopted. His paintings’ familial resemblances reside foremost in size (small), surface (matte, brushy), color (saturated), edges (hard, but unruled) and spatial illusion (not much).” —Roberta Smith
Do you paint every day?
Do you miss it when you don’t?
Are there colors you don’t like or colors you find hard to use?
That’s not my kind of question.
How do you decide on the size of a painting, especially the smaller ones?
Have you noticed that painters with little to say often choose the largest canvases on which to say it?
What comes to you first, color or shape?
There’s the idea that a painter is always painting the same painting; do you agree?
If it’s who I think you mean, I agree.
I think of you as a king of composition, where do all your ideas come from, you explore so many possibilities?
It’s trial and error, making mistakes and figuring things out along the way. I make no preparations to start a painting and have no clue where I’ll wind up. It sometimes takes months before I even know which end points north.
Do some paintings get tossed or do they hang out in the studio until they are resolved? what’s the longest amount of time it’s taken to resolve a problem painting?
No paintings get tossed. At any given time you’ll find twenty or thirty of them sitting around my place in various states of undress. Some paintings are finished in a few months, others may take a few years — several in the current show took over ten years (this may be more interesting than it is important).
Are your paintings purposefully pushy?
I don’t believe in agendas.
What about deceptive — to me they look like TV but read like film?
The more one gives to a painting the more one receives.
What are some of the reasons you prefer abstraction over representation?
I don’t make abstract paintings and my favorite artist is Florine Stettheimer — perhaps this is one of those trick questions?
Why hard edges and not soft? i noticed in one particular, new smaller painting a softer ezier paint application?
It’s not my place to say.
Do you still make your word collages, that’s the first stuff I saw of yours, international with monument back in the mid 80s? When and why did you switch to painting?
Once in a great while I’ll break out the scissors and glue and make myself a new collage (for the record, the International With Monument show was in 1983, a few years before the word collages began). And I never switched to painting! I made hundreds of paintings throughout the 1980s (as well as hundreds of other items from books and photos and thrift shops finds). My work was often autobiographical, ranging from slapstick to the lugubrious. Eventually I grew tired of the circus and by the early ’90s dismantled it all. All except for painting. But this time the paintings would have nothing specific to rely on: no preconceived ideas, no personal or outside references, no pictorial imagery, no words, no numbering systems, no theories, no agendas, and no gimmicks. I’ve done my best to work this way ever since.
“Andrew Masullo: Recent Paintings,” Feature Inc. New York, NY. Through December 5, 2010.