“My architecture background is a lens through which I observe reality around me and I strip it down to its structure and primal shape.”
The Architectural Aesthetics Shaping his Art
Michele Simonetti, an Italian-born artist, currently resides and practices his craft in the vibrant cultural hub of Brooklyn, New York. Born in 1976, Simonetti undertook a Masters in Architecture at the esteemed University of Florence, completing his studies in 2002. This academic period fostered in him a deep-seated admiration for architectural brutalism and minimalism, which have since become recurring themes in his work.
In 2014, Simonetti made the transatlantic move to New York, a relocation that brought about an enrichment of his aesthetic sensibilities, extending his fascination towards the intersection of architecture and contemporary art. His architectural background serves as a unique prism for his interpretations of reality, offering him the tools to distil it to its fundamental structure and primal shape.
New York City, with its pulsating urban landscapes and the rich tapestry of its inhabitants, has been a wellspring of inspiration for Simonetti, fueling his artistic aspirations. The city’s cultural diversity and his desire for meaningful connections with its inhabitants are central to the artistic expression in his work. His exposure to New York’s dynamic art scene yielded not only inspiration but also invaluable opportunities and networks. These interactions culminated in the successful submission of his works to Agora Gallery in New York, which subsequently offered to represent Simonetti’s unique artistic vision. The distinguished Chelsea gallery currently serves as Simonetti’s artistic representative, elevating his presence within the art world and ensuring the broad dissemination of his work to a diverse, international audience.
Michele Simonetti: Influences from Masters of Abstraction and Representation
Michele Simonetti is profoundly influenced by the likes of Ellsworth Kelly, Carmen Herrera, Edward Hopper, Jasper Jones, Robert Raushenberg, Mark Rothko, James Turrell, and Agnes Martin.
His artistic oeuvre deftly straddles the world of abstraction and representation, unraveling the intricate interplay between the tangible and the imaginary, between individual and collective recollections. The bustling urban terrain of New York City provides a constant wellspring of inspiration for Simonetti, with everyday elements such as the contours of a townhouse, the sweeping edge of a rooftop, or the imposing silhouette of a skyscraper becoming the building blocks of his artistic expression.
Yet, Simonetti’s work is not a mere reflection of his surroundings. He masterfully decontextualizes these urban elements, stripping them of their specificity to distill them into the purest forms of lines, colors, and geometries. In doing so, he creates landscapes that are at once generic and familiar, triggering an intimate dance of personal and universal memories within the viewer’s mind.
By pioneering this shared visual language, Simonetti dives deep into the fascinating complexity of human perception, crafting a conversation that is as profound as it is visually enticing.
Versatility of Acrylic and the Artistic Experimentation
The versatility and immediacy of the acrylic medium are what have drawn Michele Simonetti to it. The manifest intentions it can display range from the sleek to the textured, its adaptability allowing it to intertwine with a plethora of other materials to construct intricate layers. Gold leaf, with its rugged allure and innate preciousness, exhibits varied hues depending on the substrate, providing a striking contrast to the pristine, solid canvas.
In Simonetti’s repertoire, experimentation is key. He has embarked on an exploratory journey, delving into the usage of diverse mediums such as spray paint, gesso, and encaustic. These different materials allow him to express a wide range of emotions and capture the essence of his experiences in his artwork.
Simonetti’s creative process relies on a combination of factors to spark productivity. Daylight, he finds, is an essential element, as is music — these act as the catalysts to ignite his creative prowess. Coffee, too, finds its place in this ritual, serving as a vital accompaniment in his journey of art creation. In contrast to many artists who seek a serene workspace, Simonetti embraces distractions. For him, they bring fresh elements into his work and facilitate a release of control over the final output.
However, when distractions are deemed unwelcome, Simonetti displays a remarkable ability to focus solely on his emotional connection to the artwork and the process of creation itself. This flexible approach ensures that his artistic vision remains at the forefront, whatever the surrounding conditions may be.
Michele Simonetti: Exploring Memory, Imagination, and Cityscape Studies
Michele Simonetti’s 2020 artwork, “untitled [gold&blue] [diptych],” holds a special place in his heart. Born out of an initial sketch, it metamorphosed from a maquette into the first exploration of his cityscape studies. The piece, though deeply familiar to Simonetti, retains a certain enchantment, consistently igniting intrigue and surprise with each engagement. It encapsulates the potent dynamism of memory and imagination.
Simonetti aspires to meticulously catalog the myriad of responses his artwork inspires, weaving these interactions into a cohesive narrative. These recurring themes, he hopes, will eventually give rise to an innovative visual language that could revolutionize how viewers perceive his work.
In the year 2023, Simonetti’s works will be prominently displayed at two eminent exhibitions. “The Mind’s Eye” at Agora Gallery in New York, NY will run from July 1st to July 21st, and “Break a Leg” at the Bellini Museum in Florence, Italy will be open from June 16th to June 31st.