We’re delighted to announce that on Friday 29th April we are welcoming Mateo Humano to Enter Gallery, all the way from Montreal.
Mateo is in town for ‘Ink and Paper’ – his first solo show in the UK, and the first time that he will exhibit a new selection of limited edition prints, and his ‘Urban Wallpaper’ series of original pieces.
In today’s blog, we dive into the ornate world of Mateo, chatting to the artist to learn more about the inspirations and intentions behind the show. We also provide further information about how you can join us on the 29th.
Mateo is a French artist known for Baroque street art and beautiful oriental carpet paintings, in which he uses the patterns of the carpets to highlight the features of his subjects.
His work, which features empowered women, is an act of defiance. By taking carpets that are typically woven by women and then walked upon and transforming them into works of art that hang on walls – Mateo celebrates the strength, beauty and complexity of women.
Take a closer look at each print and you’ll notice how Mateo adorns each of his subject’s features with ancient motifs. The use of these calls upon us to question our consciousness and cultural identity in a system that pushes for uniformity at all costs.
Mateo’s show is called 'Ink and Paper', so named as all pieces included are created with these mediums rather than on carpet.
The show features five new limited edition prints, each perfectly showcasing Mateo’s mastery of aligning the traditional patterns of the carpets with the symmetry of his subject’s faces. Mateo explains his approach:
‘If you look at most traditional carpets, you’ll see that the patterns emulate the design of a traditional Arabic garden. Both garden and carpet are divided into four, with the centre point being the most important. In the garden, this point is marked by a fountain, and in terms of the carpet, the most detailed part of the pattern. When I paint the face, I line up the third eye position of my subject with the central pattern to create a mystical effect.’
Back to the streets
Ink and Paper also features Mateo’s ‘Urban Wallpaper’ series – six original, very different, artworks created using spray paint on wallpaper. We chatted to Mateo about the genesis of these works:
‘At the start of my career, I was painting murals outside for 10 years. When I began painting carpets, that’s when galleries started to contact me, and that led to international exhibitions with galleries around the world. It was exciting, but it left me with less time for painting in the streets.’
‘The idea for ‘Urban Wallpaper’ is my way of bridging the gap between the street and the gallery. I liked the idea of taking something originally designed to decorate the inside of a house and putting it outside. In the same way you’re not supposed to paint on carpet, you’re not supposed to paint on wallpaper, and neither are supposed to be outside.’
‘I pasted some of the works in Lisbon, and some in Montreal but they disappeared really quickly, in just a couple of weeks. People had ripped them from the wall, some had disappeared after heavy rain, and one that I’d pasted on the wood surrounding a construction site had been entirely cut out and taken away! I was frustrated that the pieces didn’t stay out there for very long, so I decided to exhibit these pieces as artworks in the exhibition.’
Playing with texture
In addition to pattern, one key element of Mateo’s work involves playing with interesting textures. One of the wallpapers in the ‘Urban Wallpaper’ series is finished with gold leaf, and two are embossed. Mateo told us a little more about how he worked with these textures:
‘At first the wallpapers were just white but I worked with the embossed textures by applying colour to highlight the design, and to add the ornamental element to the portrait. Next, I paint the face, and then I reapply colours over the top to bring together the portrait and the pattern.’
Mateo has painted around the world, everywhere from his native France and his elected home in Canada, to Argentina, the USA, Spain, Mexico and Colombia.
As part of the show, Mateo will also be trying something new on the wall outside Enter Gallery. He reveals:
‘I’ve designed three different wallpaper designs, which I will paste together and paint a face on. This artwork will be a mixture of all of the techniques I use.’
If you have a wall that’s crying out for a mural and Mateo’s work appeals to you, have a read of this article and drop us a line at the gallery to chat things through.
The show will feature original artworks and limited edition prints, hand-finished by Mateo at Enter Gallery.
'Ink and Paper' by Mateo Humano will take place on Friday 29th April 2022, between 6-8 pm at Enter Gallery in Brighton.
Please RSVP here and come and see these skilful works of art for yourself, over a glass or two of bubbly.