The Art of Matthew De Genaro, Zero to 60

As I am now past my 60th year of life, I thought to summarize my artistic development to this point. Beginning with my youth and student years, and into my early and mid career phases.

In my teens I made experimental film based in theory, Eisenstein montage, “tape concrete” music, psychedelics, and Marshall McLuhan.


My college years; Fine Art major/Art History minor. I learned my studio art practice strictly from a conceptual arts perspective, heavily influenced by the West coast/Art Forum ethos of the day, Land Art, California Light and Space, minimalism, installation, and structuralism.

Had my Punk Rock band, LoTek, in Portland 1979. There was an early punk scene then in Portland. We played shows with a group of other bands, Neo-boys, Wipers, Stiph-noyds, Ice-9, Sado Nation, Some went on to be part of the Seattle grunge scene a few years later.

Before going to graduate school for MFA, worked jobs, lived briefly in L.A., then New York, and started this body of work. Earthy materials, real processes, authentic efforts.

At graduate school, I confirmed my knowledge timeline, antiquity  to contemporary, for a body of work to integrate all those influences in object building processes. I hung out with performance artists, which had me thinking about my own experiences as a performer more, and  the stage upon which sculptures stand publicly.

Post-grad school I scaled-up and got more intensely into themes I’d started earlier.

As I entered working life with a straight job, I spent ten years without almost making anything, while I was thinking and progressing my ideas. I spent a lot of time outdoors and in action sports, feeling the freedom of the body in motion.

A freshened outlook met my midlife. I craved details and craftsmanship in a new way, and access to metal casting studios enable a deepening of process and introspection.  Unity with the SW Michigan community of artists brought me again to a pragmatic working method.

And Nature imagery.

Began to blog my work in 2010. This has been my working journal since. You can see my process details for these.

Now on, the figure becomes more the takeoff point for pure abstraction. Play and Story enter, replacing work and process. Austere minimalism fades away before ornament, texture, color, and pattern. Displaying artwork is a party, not a Show.