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About Greg

Baltimore City

I was born in 1978 in Columbia, MD and graduated from the University of Maryland at College Park with a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature in 2000. I stayed an additional year at UMCP and received a second B.A. in Studio Art in 2001. After moving to Baltimore in 2002, I began to explore the sculptural and conceptual possibilities of painting as the subject matter by creating a series of cut painting assemblages, installations and videos (Project 10). This work eventually lead to a renewed... more

1. Selected Paintings, 2016

The paintings from 2016 continue the experimental direction started by the "Wash" (Project #2) paintings in 2015. Here, the re-introduction of vivid, saturated color dominates the work as a body. Also, these works are also all done on panel. The hard surface causes the poured paint to behave differently and it also responds to heat and pressurized water in a totally new manner. Additionally, the paintings in this project are all much smaller than recent paintings. I look forward to scaling up this new process up in 2017 to see how these experiments will play out on a larger piece.

2. "Wash: New Paintings by Greg Minah" Solo Exhibition at VisArts, Rockville, MD

Exhibition Statement for "Wash: New Paintings by Greg Minah"

Water shapes things. It erodes and transplants; it pools and it dries away. It conspires with the ground to carve and bend and draw the landscape. “Wash: New Paintings by Greg Minah” showcases the co-authorial role that water has as an instrument in my artmaking.

My work has always been a collaboration between artist and material. Poured acrylic paint is manipulated not with a brush but by tilting, turning, and rotating the painting itself.* In her essay, “Paint Awash on a Shifting Ground,” retired director of the Baltimore Museum of Art Doreen Bolger writes:

"Despite the seeming spontaneity of Minah's work, there is incredible control, with the movement of his body in relation to the canvas determining the outcome. In an odd way, this action becomes the antithesis of Pollock's own painterly gestures, which directed the paint to a stationary ground before or below him. Pollock moved the pigment; Minah moves the ground."**

This process also involves the removal of partially dried layers of paint with pressurized water, leaving (usually) opaque remnants of paint applications. But the paintings presented here, all from 2015, while still physically manipulated to direct the behavior of the paint, have had water introduced, at times, more gradually and more broadly.

In these works, paint is often eased away--kindly coaxed by sheets of water. I’ve used larger applications of water to slowly and gently affect the material over longer periods of time. After the initial moves, the canvas might be propped up at an angle to allow these veils of water to pull and spread the paint over greater areas. The wash, encouraged but unhurried by gravity, works on the pigment methodically. Sweeping visual statements are written with subplots and footnotes intermixed. Rather than completely removing any evidence of the wash as I’ve done in earlier works, here, I’ve allowed the footprints to remain. As a result, the layers become more ethereal. Line, shape, and color freely exchange breath and brainstorm ideas until a kind of drone harmony takes form.

I consider these paintings to be sorts of landscapes, connoting the growth and decay of terrain sculpted by natural force. I’m a participant in these pieces, pivoting with the unpredictable nature of fluid paint. And at times I’m simply an observer, gazing at the material flux in the same way one gazes at the sea. A crashing wave disrupts the sand, scattering anything in its path. Then it soothes the sand as it draws away and washes things into place."

*To watch a short video highlighting this painting method, go to vimeo.com/33253072

** A link to the electronic version of the exhibition catalog “Greg Minah: Shifting Ground, Selected Paintings 2008-2014,” which includes the full essay, can be found on my website gregminah.com

3. Selected Paintings, 2014-2015

Early paintings in 2014 started with a focus on more broad areas of diffuse, poured paint in saturated tones and quickly took a pretty significant turn towards light in the later pieces. I've been focusing more and more on the removal layers--the often hair-thin remnants of paint left after removing the partially dried layer with pressurized water--by highlighting their role against more stark, white backgrounds. The incidental pops of color are more of an afterthought to the action of these layers. Or, in some cases, allowing large white pours to remain on top of the final painting, with nothing at all added to this final step. 2014 seems to be a transitional year; the paintings are changing, my thoughts are changing about the work and what it should be. I've also allowed for more triptychs to occur--i.e., celebrate my interest in variations, rather than insisting that each work make a unique final statement. It's hard to put anything into words, but you can see it happening in the work itself.

I've also included an installation shot of the largest painting I've ever made. It was a commission for an architecture firm's lobby in Washington, DC. It was definitely a challenge to rotate this painting but I was very happy with the results and undoubtedly grew from the experience.

2015 continued with an interest in the "white out" of the later works from 2014. More and more use of white occurred although my methods, composition, etc, began to flux a little. And, by mid-2015, color is gradually re-introduced.

4. Shifting Ground Exhibition, Goucher College

"Greg Minah: Shifting Ground, Selected Paintings 2008-2014" Goucher College, June-August, 2014.

Exhibition Statement:

In the summer of 2008, I was fortunate enough to spend six weeks in the extreme light, heat and space of Joshua Tree, California, completing an artist's residency. My time out west profoundly changed the trajectory of my work and my life. It was in Joshua Tree that I first started to explore the process-based possibilities of acrylic paint. In Shifting Ground the gradual emergence of my current painting method can be traced back to my efforts in the Mojave Desert---an ongoing practice fueled by a physical engagement with the medium and a formalistic approach to painting. This exhibition features a broad selection of work ranging from paintings made at the residency in 2008 to my most recent work from 2014.

I've included the original essay written by Doreen Bolger, director of the Baltimore Museum of Art that was included in the exhibition catalog as it beautifully encapsulates the development of my work.

5. Selected Paintings, 2012-2013

In 2012, I seem to have re-visited some key elements from years prior while working in a lot of different approaches, too. The earlier paintings are smaller in scale and employ a lot of white space with distinct color events. The second series from this year are the largest paintings that I've ever made using this painting method and I seem to just keep pushing the heavily-saturated, all-over colors with minimal use of black/white--the overall effect is almost a humming or vibration. And then, towards the end of the year, I took this approach with the color to a smaller scale again.

The most obvious change in direction in 2013 was the use of the circular stretchers. This format has been in the back of my mind since developing this method of painting several years back. It just seemed to make sense to to experiment with this frame given the rolling, turning, spinning nature of my working process. The experience was very difficult as I realized that my curves and flowing, rhythmic lines had gotten used to having right angles to play off of. The circular paintings went through a lot of changes throughout their creation, resulting in a a new kind of depth that can come only with adding more and more layers.

I carried this development into the latest series of 60 by 40 inch stretchers. The edge is back but the added amount of layers of paint (most are quickly partially removed before trying completely to leave only the outline) are still there. This is why I've added a compilation of detail images that attempt to document the subtly and fine level of minuscule detail present in these most recent paintings.

6. Painting Process, Videos & Stills

I shot and produced these short videos for the Baker Awards page to highlight my working methods in the hopes that viewers will be able to more fully experience my paintings. A fuller description of each video can be found in the detail section of the individual video.

I shot the video using my Sony NEX-3 camera, edited it using Sony Vegas Movie Studio HD, and I composed the music on an iPad by playing/arranging virtual instruments in Garage Band and sampling noises from the actual painting process.

I've also provided some video stills with further explanation of important steps in the painting process.

The painting that I'm working on in "Greg Minah: Painting | Method" is entitled "certain truths" and can be seen in the "Paintings, 2011" project of this nomination.

  • Misc Studio Shots, 2013

    A compilation of images taken around the studio this year. You might be able to track the growth of the "paint stalactites" in this image by comparing them to shots from the video shot in 2011.
  • Camera Mount

    This is a picture of the camera attached the supports/mount I constructed to film "Greg Minah: Painting | Process." The camera was stationed roughly 3 feet from the surface, making the process of spinning the stretcher quite challenging.
  • Greg Minah: Painting | Process

    In conjunction with an exhibit at Montgomery College (3Dx2D Squared: Themes and Variations of Organic Shape, 2011) I was asked to take part in a lecture at the school.
  • Spraying

    This step might be my favorite as there's something very satisfying about washing away a layer of paint to reveal what lies beneath it. It feels, at times, like I am spraying the hidden layers back onto the canvas, rather than removing the top layer.
  • Layer Removal

    Photoshop comes into play again when I am deciding whether or not to remove a layer after it's applied. By taking a quick shot of the painting before I apply a layer of paint and then toggling between a solid layer and a layer where I've erased the middle, I can see what lies beneath the pour and decide whether I want to reveal this, or not, by removing the actual layer with water. This shot also shows how I keep track of how much a pour has dried.
  • Photoshop

    In the beginning stages of a painting, decisions about color, shape, composition, etc., are more free and intuitive. But, as time goes on, these decisions become increasingly more difficult. As the painting nears completion, I spend a lot of time carefully planning out the next move. I can precisely control the color, placement, and shape of the pour in Photoshop as a sketch or guide before I do the actual application. On the left, you can see the file I have which contains dozens of different pour formations that I pull from and then manipulate to design the next step.
  • Pour and Spin

    POUR After the paint is poured, it takes a lot of jiggling and shaping (sometimes by hand, as shown here) to get it in the right shape before I pick up the stretcher and begin manipulating the canvas. The overall shape of the final application depends on how this initial pour is formed. INITIAL SPIN At first, decisions and reactions must be made very quickly since the paint moves very fast in the beginning. SLOW SPIN As the paint disperses across the surface, it moves more and more slowly.
  • Drip Test

    This canvas is installed on the wall next to my painting table so that I can test the fluidity of the paint as I'm mixing. I can tell a lot about how the paint will behave by how it drips down this canvas and it takes a lot of tweaking to get it just right.
  • Mixing Methods

    VISE I use this vise clamp to hold the mixing cups since I need both hands free to prepare the paint. I stir and break down the paint with one hand as I gradually add water, acrylic medium, gloss medium, other thinned paint, etc with the other. BRUSHES I use these brushes to mix the paint. The constant stirring has almost completely worn away the bristles and has reshaped the ferrule, as well. Over time, the paint accumulates on the handle, forming that large bulge.
  • Greg Minah: Painting | Method

    I shot and produced this short video for the Baker Awards so that the viewer might have a fuller experience of my paintings and all that goes into their creation. Every step in the process is a chance for me to learn something new about how the paint behaves and each finished painting is the result of these steps working together gradually.

7. Selected Paintings, 2010-2011

I made a lot of paintings in 2010 and tried to show some representative paintings of the four, or so, series that I made that year. It seems that a central "event" or "character" is emerging. Using one or two pours/removals to create a point of focus on top of many other layers.

Then, in the paintings from the later part of 2010, things begin to lighten up again. Colors are used sparingly and seem to say more. I also started to experiment with pouring thinned paint onto an already wet canvas, creating that glazing mask effect.

In 2011, because some of these paintings were so large, I had to construct a handle that attached to the back of the stretcher and spanned across the face so that I could see the paint as I moved the painting. The colors shift yet again and I sometimes wonder just how much the seasons might be affecting them.

8. Crystal City Art Wall

Selected by the Crystal City Business Improvement District (BID) to have 10 of my recent paintings reproduced at high quality on 10' by 10' aluminum panels and installed in downtown Crystal City on an ongoing basis as part of the Art Walls project.

I was very excited for this opportunity since I've always wanted my paintings to be accessible to more people on a daily basis in a public setting, but the nature of paint on canvas doesn't lend itself well to standing up to the elements. This was a unique way for my paintings to be able to interact with the architecture and surrounding natural environment without physically degrading.

Installation address:
2221 South Eads Street
Arlington, VA 22202

9. Selected Paintings, 2008-2009

These paintings, half of which were made during the Joshua Tree Artist Residency in 2008, mark a real turning point in my work. The light, landscape and isolation of the high desert had a profound impact on me and my work. This was also when I first began to experiment with dripping and pouring paint.

In 2009, you can trace the gradually decreasing role that the paint brush played in creating the work. The larger paintings were made by pouring and then masking layers with a brush. The smaller, square paintings were made with very little brushwork, relying more on applying more layers to achieve depth and atmosphere.

10. Selected Cut Painting Sculptures, Installations and and Videos

The sculptures, assemblages, videos and installations presented in this project represent a sampling of the work that I made shortly after college. In school, with unrestricted access to large studio space and cheap materials, I made a lot of large paintings. After school, I had to unstretch the paintings in order to store them. While going through a period of questioning painting's relevance, I realized that I had this gigantic pile of subject matter that I could experiment with. That's when I cut up my first painting and arranged it into organized, labeled bundles.

In some ways, I think that the questioning and experimentation with the medium that I did during these years led to the alternative method of painting that I do today. While I no longer question the importance/relevance of a painting, I still try and push the medium and think about it differently as I work.

  • Short Stack

    One of the first assemblage creations I made implementing a steel bar inserted through every paint chip to ensure that they would not fall out.
  • Large Spiral

    The same painting that was suspended between the fallen trees, now rolled up into a frame.
  • Dunce Cap

    One large painting, cut into strips, then connected end to end and rolled into this conical structure.
  • Artomatic Installation 2004 (2)

    Painting cut into approximately 2 inch by 2 inch pieces and installed on another wall at Artomatic, 2004.
  • Gwynns Falls Trail Installation

    One large painting was cut up and attached to two fallen trees.
  • Artomatic 2004 Installation Room (1)

    Painting was cut into horizontal strips and installed in a room at Artomatic.
  • Cut Up Painting Video Compilation

    I compiled some of the short videos that I made after graduating college here in one place. They were "sketches," more or less, as I was trying to come to terms with what role painting had in contemporary art/culture. The cut up paintings that are the subject of these short videos were made while I was a student at the University of Maryland. A note on a couple of the videos: 1. The one with a paint chip on a car dashboard was made by photographing the chip every 5 miles on a trip to Texas and back. 2.

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Greg's Curated Collection

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