Welcome to the incredible works of American artist Randi Matushevitz.
I was first attracted to Matushevitz’s practice through her interactive, moving artworks featured prominently on her instagram wall.
I love this answer about the subjects in her work:
“These figures are the collective voices of family, friends and strangers. They emit the myriad of emotions that come with life’s entanglements, frustrations and instability.
Sublime and grotesque, my artwork depicts the emotional frailty caused by uncertainty. It reverberates from a guttural place where the effects of past traumas linger. The figures exist in noir spaces that provide a sense of quiet dread. Individuals and cohorts capture the essence of fraught human connectivity. Alive in the abyss of an angst-ridden world filled with distorted expectations and abject conundrums. I offer these paintings as a comfort to the distressed, as an exchange for the real horror of life.”
My First of all Randi, what is your instagram handle?
Where are you answering these questions from?
Los Angeles, California USA
Randi, how would you describe your work in three words?
Haunting, Existential, Brute
Tell me about your artist career so far? How did you get to where you are now?
Through a lot of hard work and perseverance I have been able to maintain an artistic career for twenty years. I had the good fortune to be picked up by a gallery in NYC right out of graduate school. That led to more galleries, art fairs, and exhibitions that traveled Latin America. I had my first solo museum show at the Las Vegas Art Museum in 2007. After this illustrious time, and the economic crash of 2006-8, my galleries closed and everything came to a halt. I continued to make artwork. The most important thing an artist can do is maintain their studio practice. Eventually, I was able to reconnect with galleries on the west coast. In 2016 I had my first solo show in Los Angeles. I began to meet artists and apply for residencies, professional artist workshops and other programs in the US and abroad. In 2018, I was fortunate to exhibit in Berlin at the Enter Art Foundation and in 2019 at the Giudecca Arts District in Venice. It was also the year that I had a show in Chinatown at Coagula Curatorial with Justin Bower which resulted in an acquisition from the Museum of Art and History in Lancaster, CA. I now have representation again at Shockboxx Project. The most important aspect after my studio practice was to build community with fellow artists. That means participate whether in person or on-line, seek out your people. It’s been a long ride and it is still continuing.
and Where did you grow up? What did you study?
I was born in Rochester, NY, lived in Miami, Florida from ages 5-11, then moved to Las Vegas. I consider Las Vegas is my home. In high school and early university, I was a chemistry student. My first exposure to art was in university. I had a class that began with x-rays of old master paintings. Watching how grisaille turned to color and how items were moved and removed captured my imagination and stole my heart immediately. I hold a BA from California State University, Northridge, California and MFA from University of Miami in Florida.
Who are these figures in your artworks? Are they people you know? What are they feeling Randi?
These figures are the collective voices of family, friends and strangers. They emit the myriad of emotions that come with life’s entanglements, frustrations and instability.
Sublime and grotesque, my artwork depicts the emotional frailty caused by uncertainty. It reverberates from a guttural place where the effects of past traumas linger. The figures exist in noir spaces that provide a sense of quiet dread. Individuals and cohorts capture the essence of fraught human connectivity. Alive in the abyss of an angst-ridden world filled with distorted expectations and abject conundrums. I offer these paintings as a comfort to the distressed, as an exchange for the real horror of life.
Tell me about your artistic process, and how each work comes to be? How do you know when a work is done?
Each artwork develops from impromptu layers that are organized over time. I think of it as educated intuition.
If you had to describe yourself as a colour, which colour would you be?
I am a rainbow. I am complete as a dichotomy of the many characters that reside within the accumulation of my experience. I assume that everyone has similar complexity of character and is of great value. Humans are like rainbows with the capacity for all and none of the colors.
What would you say is the most significant aspect of your art? And how did this come about?
My studio practice is the most important aspect of my artistry. It is my laboratory. The ability to learn, challenge, and reinvent lives there. Over the years I have realized I can work anywhere; a hotel room, a bedroom in my apartment, on my kitchen table, a fancy studio. I have moved quite a bit in my life, bringing from one cartoon town to another, Los Angeles, New York, Las Vegas, Miami.
"I am an existentialist. I want to know how humans are the same beyond culture, language or gender. We are all connected as a species, I think it lies in the sympathetic nervous system and the thought centers of our brain. This pursuit of imagery that can spark our empathetic and intuitive knowing is what drives my artwork imagery."
Tell me about your earliest memory surrounding art, and when did you decide to pursue a career in art?
I loved being at university. I had exposure to a lifetime of information. The library was my favorite place. I mentioned earlier my first art class. It was figure drawing 101, an elective for the general university humanities requirement. The first days the professor presented slides of old master paintings and there
x-rays. He had books of art that compared themes, imagery, and more by artists across the centuries, it is more than I can list. My mind was blown. Art History held the keys to the world. Then he threw in real techniques and idea about color, mark, and space. By the end of the semester I was hooked. I remember thinking, now only to tell my parents. Ha, that was so long ago.
What is your studio like? What are your artist essentials, and what do you listen to while you work?
I studio is a converted garage. Essentials mean a plethora of materials at my fingertips. It took me a long time to realize that to be free in the studio you can’t feel precious about anything until the work is finished. I learned that there are tools that are necessary, a variety of supplies are important and storage is a must. I am primarily a 2-d artist. That gives you an idea of my materials. If you take care of them they will last a long time. The key is that my tools went from precious to durable, even wastable garbage. I have saved far more works than I have thrown away. The importance is the learning, experiencing what happens on the journey, what each art making experience teaches.
I listen to a variety of things or nothing. Some of my favorites are the Potus channel on Sirius Radio, podcasts, or audiobooks. I listen to female pop icons like Kesha, Sia and Pink, some jazz Miles Davis, Nina Simone, and others. If I need a calm hand there is always classical instrumentals.
What does an average working day look like for you?
In the new normal I have noticed that my schedule fluctuates. I work about 4-6 hours per day. I might be doing the business of art or in the studio. Research, reading, writing about art, even zoom studio visits and webinars keep me occupied and is fun, a part of the job. All of it is part of the job and I live for it. I think of isolation as a time of freedom to be in my studio. It is in my garage, allowing me to work any time of the day or night. I work daily. Prior to Covid -19 I had a tight schedule that wrapped around my teenage daughter and elderly mother. I would be in the studio for 2-3 hour intervals 5 days a week. On the weekends I worked most mornings and post dinner it was off to openings, museums or galleries.
Who or what are your greatest influences, and how do these come out in your work?
My greatest influences are.
What questions drive your practice? What are the focuses and themes of your work?
I am an existentialist. I want to know how humans are the same beyond culture, language or gender. We are all connected as a species, I think it lies in the sympathetic nervous system and the thought centers of our brain. This pursuit of imagery that can spark our empathetic and intuitive knowing is what drives my artwork imagery.
If you could own one piece of artwork in the world, as if money or likelihood was no issue, what would it be and why?
This is the hardest question, I am not sure to pick one would present an honest answer. Here it goes, I would like to own a Rembrandt portrait, a Jenny Seville woman, a Cindy Sherman photograph or digital photo, a Goya etching, a Mariko Mori film or a Toulouse Lautrec pastel. Each of these would provide a transcendental experience as that which I experienced in the museums where I have experienced the work of these artists.
If you could have a meal with any artist from any time:
a) what would the meal be
b) who would it be with?
A meal with one of my icons the feminist painter Artemisia Gentileschi would be the dream, I imagine her to be one tough cookie. After that Caravaggio might be interesting or perhaps Picasso. Both men were asses and I would love to hear about their lives and painting discoveries. I imagine it would anger me to dive into my studio. As for a living artist I would have to pick Cindy Sherman. Her work is so interesting and her bravery as a photographer is so consistent. I am in awe of her work.
Do you have any upcoming shows we should know about?
My shows are online. Surrealism and ….is on Artsy til Aug 11.
I will be attending an artist workshop from sept – nov through the CCI. Los angeles
Kipaipai workshop via MOAH in October.
This summer I have had IGTV interviews with VC Projects
An interview with Maeave Doyle on A Private View on Soho Radio
And Art is a Vessel Podcast.
You can see my work at ShockBoxx Projects on Artsy.
Is there anything you and She Curates could work on together?
Yes of course. A bi-city project would be fascinating; Los Angeles and London are both contemporary hot pockets. I have ideas, you and I will have to talk.
Favourite historical female artist?
To answer this question concisely, I will define historical as pre-20th century.
Artemisia Gentileschi – (1593-1653) A painter of the Italian Baroque she was single handedly responsible for elevating the status of women in a male dominated world. I chose her because she was a feminist and her life, her tenacity and her accomplishments resemble that of many contemporary women. Her paintings of formidable women and her success as an artist in a male-dominated field while also being a single mother makes her seem like many women who have lived throughout history and definitely are alive today. For me she is a feminist icon.
Favourite current practicing female artists?
Here are a few:
Who should She Curates interview next?
Is there anything else you wanted to say?
Thank you for this opportunity to share my work. I look forward to talking with you soon.
If anyone would like to see more work and to learn more about me and my practice go to www.randimatushevitz.com.