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Work Samples

this notion appeared

"this notional appeared" 40 by 30 inches acrylic on canvas 2019

part of a process

"part of a process" 30 by 40 inches acrylic on canvas 2019

manifest relationship

"manifest relationship" 60 by 40 inches acrylic on canvas 2019

a definite duality

"a definite duality" acrylic on canvas 40 by 30 inches 2018

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About Greg

Baltimore City

Greg Minah's picture
STATEMENT Water ghostwrites my painting. It erodes and transplants; it pools and it dries away. It conspires with pigment and ground to carve and compose stories stacked with resonant harmonies. I’m a participant in these pieces, pivoting with the unpredictable nature of fluid paint, gazing at the material flux.  BIO Greg Minah grew up in Columbia, Maryland and graduated from the University of Maryland at College Park with degrees in English Literature and Studio Art. Minah has been... more

Selected Paintings, 2019

This year my painting process was really guided by a rigorous devotion to working in the studio. My most recent work seems to be drawing on the myriad techniques and processes I’ve developed over the years. I’ve consciously tried to abandon the idea that my work needs to adhere to some imagined narrative, whether stylistically or historically. The individual paintings presented in this project are more unique expressions unto themselves. As my methods continue to evolve and complexify, the paintings reflect this. Some of these have taken me much longer to resolve. Others seem to get to this place more quickly. I’ve been striving to recognize and trust this moment regardless of whether it comes after weeks and months of struggle or after one lucky pour. Trusting this process has been a focussed effort in 2019.

I was fortunate enough to show a selection of work from 2010-2019 at the Park School in the fall of 2019. I think that curating this diverse group of paintings together has definitely influenced my desire to allow my most recent work to resist the notion that I have to stay on any given path. Here’s the statement from the group exhibition:

My paintings showcase the co-authorial role that water has as an instrument in my artmaking. 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. The paintings exhibited in “Creative Process” at The Park School offer a wide angle view of my process over time and highlight the myriad places it’s led me over the years.

This process 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. It also involves the application of water at varying strengths to either forcefully remove layers or to gently influence the behavior of the paint after it’s been poured.

Although I mix and test the paint to control its color and temperament, every step in this process yields something unexpected. I remain open to chance. When my expectations are betrayed I'm forced to reassess and that's often when growth occurs. The initial painting is eventually covered over but each layer is a reaction to what came before--a collective history of decisions and compromises, triumphs and failures. The finished painting is something like a symphonic moment suspended in time--a silent and static record of events with a significance that's activated by your unique experience of the work.

I’m a participant in these pieces, pivoting with the unpredictable nature of fluid paint. But mostly I’m an observer, gazing at the material flux.

Selected Paintings, 2018

2018 was a landmark year for me as it marked 10 years since I became a full-time artist. In 2008 I completed an artist residency in Joshua Tree, California that had a profound and lasting effect on me and my work. While in the desert 10 years ago, I first began to experiment with pouring paint and moving the stretcher to control its flow. This method of painting came to define my style and has been well documented in essays, interviews, and videos over the years (see 'Painting Process, 2011' project in this nomination to watch a short video).

This year I was fortunate enough to return to the Mojave Desert to the same artist residency (Joshua Tree Highlands Artist Reidency-JTHAR) that I completed 10 years ago. This fall I exhibited the paintings I made in a show entitled "Desire Lines," along with some other new work from this year. The exhibition statement below sums up just how important the exerpience was for me....

Exhibition Statement for "Desire Lines: New Work by Greg Minah"

Desire lines are made when people or animals forge a pathway that strays from the established route. The paintings in "Desire Lines: New Work by Greg Minah" embody this idea and reflect the artist’s notions about what his work should do, or, more specifically, where it should go. In the spring of 2018, Greg Minah returned to the same artist residency in Joshua Tree, California that led him to develop his unique process-based approach to painting 10 years earlier. Over the course of the last decade, this method of painting came to define Minah’s style and, at times, constrain him. During his most recent stint in the Mojave Desert, Minah sought to embrace uncertainty and reconnect with risk. In these works, some of which were made at the residency in Joshua Tree and the rest at his Baltimore studio, Minah allows different approaches to freely interact on the canvas--craft and technique making room for instinct and curiosity. These paintings are the outcome of the artist becoming reacquainted with his intuition and trusting the art that results.

Painting Process, 2017-2019

My most recent method of painting involves leaving the stretcher propped at various angles and in various positions while heat, fans, or other forces and materials are gradually applied. The painting process documented earlier in this nomination (see 'Painting Process Video and Stills' project) was either in motion (ie., turning, rotating) or horizontal (i.e., flat), left to cure and dry. But now, after my initial series of movements and pours, I tend to leave the paintings alone for longer periods of time to let the paint paint itself, in a way. I become a viewer at this point, watching the painting take shape and change before my eyes. As I became more and more intrigued by this part of the process I started to document these moments in short videos and detail shots that I share on my Instagram (www.instagram.com/gminah). This project contains a selection of these short videos and detail shots.

I hope these videos allow the viewer a deeper connection to how these paintings were made and why this process-oriented method of making them is so important to me. These videos are becoming more and more an artform on their own, too.

  • Greg Minah: Painting | Flow

    During my recent artist residency in Joshua Tree, California, I noticed that the overflow from my painting process was creating some beautiful moments as the medium moved and flowed. For more information, please visit www.gregminah.com
  • Process Clips

    A compilation of some short clips of my most recent painting method. I share videos and like these and detail shots of works in progress on my Instagram page: www.instagram.com/gminah
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Selected Paintings, 2016-2017

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.

2017 was a year marked by change. I moved studios for the first time since 2005, or so, and the work seems to have gone in a new direction, as well. The small works on panel from 2016 clearly paved the way for these larger works on canvas. Here, as in 2016, I allow the medium to move more slowly across the surface for extended periods of time. As a result, the more turbulent areas are unified by these long, drawn-out pathways--a kind of harmonic stability. The larger format of these paintings showcase this technique in a way that was hard to achieve on the smaller panel pieces.

While my painting methods in 2017 still employ much of the same techniques as documented in the 'Process' project of this nomination (below) there are new tricks and devices I'm using that allow for the presence of the unpredictable---something that adds a certain authenticity and naturalness to the work, I think. The paintings presented in this project are what inspired me to revise my artist statement this year:

Water ghostwrites my painting. It erodes and transplants; it pools and it dries away. It conspires with pigment and ground to carve and compose stories stacked with resonant harmonies. I’m a participant in these pieces, pivoting with the unpredictable nature of fluid paint, gazing at the material flux.

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 significant turn towards all-over white 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. It's hard to put anything into words, but you can see it happening in the work itself.

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 but dramatically re-introduced. In many ways, I think the white paintings from 2014 and early 2015 paved the way for the re-introduction of saturated color later in 2015--a forest fire to promote new growth, so to speak. Below is the full exhibition statement for the exhibition that showcased these paintings:

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

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.

Painting Process, 2011

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.

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.

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. UPDATE: I'll be returning to Joshua Tree for another residency in April, 2018! Excited to see how the desert treats me 10 years later!!

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.

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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