Artist Focus: Derek Mainella – Van Gogh Seer

Derek Maniella is an artist and independent curator from Toronto, Canada. Mainella has worked with various forms of media including drawing, installation, sound and video. He was part of a group collective SAVANT which was held this past fall in London at High Roller Society. Mainella’s latest show is a solo exhibit being held at Neubacher Shor Contemporary in Toronto from April 5-28, 2012. FAULT caught up with Derek to find out more about his new installation Van Gogh Seer.
FAULT: Derek you recently had a show in London can you tell us how that went?
Derek: Yeah it was cool. It was a group show which was very well received, I think. Among my work was a painting of Ian Curtis which was actually my second-last figurative painting ever and got some nice attention. Its funny, I discovered later in one of my books that a pretty big British artist did a painting called Ian Curtis previously, but I like my version better… I also met the love of my life at the opening, so all in all a successful enterprise.
FAULT:  You have a show which recently started Van Gogh Seer, can you tell us about that?
Derek: This is a large solo show of my work at Neubacher Shor Contemporary in Toronto which is like two shows in one in a way. The first part is my new work, which sort of bridges abstraction and representation. The results of which could have been very very bad of course, but I feel I’ve pulled it off. To do these pictures I worked in a self-induced reclusive, hallucinatory state. There is a bit of neo-psychedelia there, a bit of Easter Island tribal-ness, a bit of moody romanticism. At the same time thinking of the typical old modern painter trying to figure things out in the studio day after day. And myself acting as a ‘seer’- painting the cracks in the world, things that wouldn’t really exist if I didn’t paint them. And also a slight political aspect- portraying a bleak past, present, and future which is always fun. The second part of the show is a painting installation that takes up an entire room based directly on the mythical Self Portrait with Bandaged Ear by Van Gogh himself.  If we google “Van Gogh’s ear, (which is Van Gogh Seer said over and over quickly) this is what comes up. So I created appropriately titled color study works based on the original Van Gogh painting as a visual analysis, which also brings the picture up to date to our present time.
FAULT:  What are some of the inspirations behind your latest series of work?
Derek: Van Gogh was an artist I looked at extensively as a kid so there is some nostalgia involved, but music stuff mostly. And like I said earlier, the state or mood comes from thinking of this solitary figure producing honest, real paintings in this strange psychotic state- making pictures that would only fall into favor later. Of course you can’t surprise people all that much anymore. Regardless, that is the inspiration.
FAULT: What are your plans for the rest of this year?
Derek: I will keep painting like a man possessed and move to London, England.
To see more of Derek Maniella’s work please click Here