[imagebrowser id=100] Every year and on their last stretch before graduation, these art neophytes are poised to establish their mark by placing themselves out there for the public to witness their artistic statement with a graduate show. Arte Fuse attended the opening reception for two young stars in line for greatness with “Solipsism & Singularities” featuring the works of Lee Milby and Matti Maunu last March 27, 2012 at Cooper Union. This venerable institution has produced prestigious graduates like Lola Montes Schnabel (Julian Schnabel’s daughter), who we featured last December when she had her solo show at the hole gallery in the Bowery.
 
Walking into the modern building at 41 Cooper Square, it proved the perfect dream venue for anyone who wants to get started with their art career. Both artists are young, have fresh ideas, and self possessed in the purity of concept. As I descended into the ample space with its trappings of a sleek modern gallery – I was impressed with the distinct styles of each artist.
 
Lee Milby is a charming petite woman then you see these massive canvases that dominate from floor to ceiling. The oil paintings are skillfully done with earthy and tonal flesh renderings that are compelling on the figurative. The body of work is textured with so much subtexts and meaning for Milby as with the doorknobs are the collective summation of her time around the neighborhood and the books spread into a cacophony of feather-like patterns are actually her personal book collection. The various elements do not have an obvious single narrative but in her own secret logic – they are precise and unified. Milby exudes quiet confidence and a strong base with her style.
 
Matti Maunu at first sight is a fresh-faced guy who you’d think would trash a skateboard the entire day but his works are totally unexpected. His intense monochrome color panels of self –portraits, facial renderings like mist conjured magically from the background and deft hand application validates years of disciplined skill coupled with self-restraint. Maunu explores the sense of self and it’s a singular thread that he navigates with finesse.
 
These two were paired for this graduate show and the contrasts are obvious in the color palette but the common factor is the exploration of self. It’s their first start off the gate as artists but with the self-assured body of works, they’ll be thoroughbreds gunning for success at the finish line.
 
Lee Milby & Matti Maunu: Solipsism & Singularities  @ 41 Cooper Gallery
Hours: Mon-Thu (7:30 am – 2 am) Fri & Sat (7:30 am – 12 am)

The works are on view from March 27 – 30, 2012
41 Cooper Square on Third Avenue between 6th & 7th Streets. NY, NY 10003
 
article by: Oscar A. Laluyan

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