‘Observational Abstractions’: A Study in Color and Nature

Danielle Anderson
Staff Writer

A_E, 3_21, observational abstractions review, danielle anderson, PC_ Courtesy of Matthew Micca.jpg

Courtesy of Matthew Micca

Beginning March 2 and running until April 8, Greensboro’s visionary gallery, apartment complex and office space combo Revolution Mill will be hosting “Observational Abstractions,” an exhibition featuring the modern works of local artist Matthew Micca.

Micca received his BFA from William Paterson University of New Jersey in 1996, and has been based in the Greensboro area for over 13 years. He describes his artwork as a practice of “visual meditation,” claiming that immersing himself in color, texture and line has become a form of therapeutic release. His pieces are largely transcendental and abstract in the present day, focusing on the interwoven aspects of color and shape.

His showings and exhibitions are mostly local, his works having been featured in the North Carolina Museum of Art, the Greenhill Center for North Carolina Art, the Weatherspoon Art Museum and the Durham Arts Council.

To convey the striking visual composition of Micca’s work, one only has to think of its similarity to the art of Mark Rothko, with its obvious delineations of pigment and gradient. Micca’s pieces are clearer and neater than that of Rothko’s jagged-edged squares and rectangles – the former employs an almost ombre effect to his work, similar to the separated layers found in ocean water, or in the sky during a sunrise.

In fact, much of Micca’s works relate back to images obtained through the study of nature. The range of royal blues and indigos in his art call to mind depictions of the Atlantic, while the bright oranges and muted reds bring your imagination to a soft Carolina sunset. This is not merely a coincidence – the near entirety of Micca’s oeuvre focuses on the visual aspect of the natural world.

Outside of his Rothko-esque pieces, the influence of environment is even more apparent. A series of small square canvases featured in the exhibit imitate the variety of differing North Carolina landscapes. Two, in hues of deep amber and brown, call to mind the image of rich fall foliage – they even feature imprints of autumnal leaves, reeds and grasses. Others promote the darker side of nature, with speckled shades of black and dark blue, mirroring the mottled patterns of rain and snowfall.

“Closely observing the land and sky is an essential part of my routine,” said Micca, who was quoted on a plaque at the gallery entrance. “I haven’t had a car for ten years and choose to navigate the outside world by bicycle. Feeling the elements, such as wind and rain heightens my sensitivity to my surroundings. What I see and feel weaves through my subconscious and into my art.” The exhibition’s title – “Observational Abstractions” – highlights the significance of examination and absorption of surroundings.

In addition to drawing inspiration from his environment, Micca appears to have a particular affinity for geometric shapes. Looking at his work calls to mind the nearly mathematical art style of Wassily Kandinsky, or the heavily symmetrical technique of Piet Mondrian. The hollowed outlines of rectangles and rigid lines in shades of black and white make frequent appearances throughout each piece featured in the exhibit. This heavily minimalist approach emphasizes the open concept feel of the surrounding exhibition space, with its exposed brick and unfinished, industrial stylings.

If you’re looking for art you can get lost in, pieces you can fully contemplate and works you can project your own visuals and perception onto, “Observational Abstractions” is a must-see. Micca’s exhibit stands out amongst other Greensboro artists with its commitment to natural inspiration, its focus on impactful meaning through minimalist technique and its attention to the study of color and shape. He truly embodies the spirit of the most ecologically-minded among us: the natural world is full of inspiration, it just takes a keen eye – and an open heart – to see it.

Categories: A & E, Arts & Entertainment, Reviews

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