Big Blue Thing

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“I talk better walking,” says painter Andrew Piedilato, who likes big canvases because they allow him to move around them and create in motion. If you’ve been to any of his New York shows, you’ve noticed that his themes themselves are in motion in the pieces, which are eight square feet or more.

Mostly representational of the city and concrete structures of the industrial age, the hard, fixed postures in his more recent works are rolled up and riding the waves as if they are of the same nature as that of the sea. But the brick rolls are clunky, and the breakages tough and forced, either because the structures claim ardor and tenacity or because the breakings do. Piedilato’s massive gestural styles have also led to comparisons with abstract/neo expressionists like Philip Guston.

“I started the ‘tiling’ as sort of a background idea for some earlier works. Over time, the background technique emerged as a way to render new kinds of subjects (broken boats, walls, floors, etc).” For someone who paints so large (each piece roughly taking up a month or two when working with before and after job hours), Piedilato claims that he has fallen into a habit of planning on tiny thumbnail drawings that act as the guides. Maybe it’s a form of continuity for his prior style of making (thousands of) 7×7 watercolor paintings before moving to Brooklyn from Athens, Georgia.

Now, he works with alkyd and latex, oil paint from the hardware store, and house paint rollers: “Not making a statement or anything, they’re just the best tools for the way I am painting.”

His next project is his next painting, which he calls Hull: