The art of Mateo Recka is dreamy and fluorescent, reflecting the artist’s deep nostalgia for the culture of his childhood in the early 90s. He returns again and again to the image of an all-American Saturday morning, chasing the delight of waking up to the vibrant innocence of the morning cartoons and the calming aura of Bob Ross and his paintings.
Creativity has always featured prominently in Recka’s life. From the rich visual language of the T.V. shows he loved to the drawings and paintings of his mother, an artist in her own right, Recka felt encouraged to develop his own creative voice. Earning his BFA in sculpture, but frequently working with paint and other media, Recka describes his style as fluid, routinely evolving depending on his environment and materials. Despite this variety, all of Recka’s work carries a distinct feeling of nostalgia. On the practice of capturing this elusive quality, Recka shares, “Use of texture, layering of paint, and the combined exaggeration of line and color ask viewers to explore the “handmade” in a ready-made world. This, in addition to the use of found and discarded objects in the creation of my art, works to contrast the bright colors and “cartoon like” figures in the work. It’s a collaboration and clashing of two major parts of me.”
Examples of Recka’s acrylic work will be on display in Beacon Gallery’s R.E.A.L. F.R.I.E.N.D.S exhibition, a show that celebrates the bright and bold collaborations between artist Jamaal Eversley and twelve of his friends. In an email, Recka described his longstanding friendship and history with Eversley, whom he met in 2013.
“I was participating in a group art show and he was working directly with the director of the show to manage and assist the artists. It was this first meeting that left an impression with me. Jamaal’s energy was really positive, and his style was on point. Since then Jamaal and I have collaborated in a few shows and attended one another’s shows together. In addition to these times, Jamaal and I have had the opportunity to collaborate on work together completing a large-scale live painting of a mural titled “Power”. I enjoy working with him because his style is precision and mine is fluid; it’s a match that challenges each of us, but a collaboration that complements our skills as well. Jamaal is an honorable man, a positive influence in my life, and someone that bolsters my belief in the arts.”
Throughout this summer, much of Recka’s energy has been focused on refurbishing his new house—a process that has inspired the beginnings of his next series of work. Moving from a one-bedroom apartment to a place with a garage has afforded him more room to explore sculpture and installation on a larger scale. Using found objects and a variety of art-making materials, he hopes to “utilize these works to transform a space and to create an environment that stands on its own—something that can simultaneously feel so familiar, but far away from our own world.”