Canopy Collective Hosts New Works by Matt Kokoski

Canopy Collective’s 1090 Club hosts an opening reception for Reaching For Nothing, new and recent works by Northeast Ohio-based artist Matt Kokoski (aka Spare Parts). An opening reception takes place from 6 to 10 p.m. this Friday, Oct. 9. The exhibition includes more than 30 works, about a third of which were created specifically for this exhibition and have never been publicly displayed before.

“Matt Kokoski's work has both a physical and figurative depth to it that can leave your imagination spinning for a lifetime,” says Canopy Collective co-founder Erika Durham. “The skillful nature in which he performs collage is impressive to say the least. The images he creates can induce joy and terror at once. His pieces translate uniquely to each viewer in drastic ways. In addition to collage, Kokoski also utilizes his own techniques of acrylic pouring, and often chooses to use old windows as his canvas, adding yet another layer of depth. We are excited and proud to be hosting an artist with such passion and drive for his craft.”

We told you about Kokoski’s first massive solo show at Doubting Thomas in Tremont last March. Though the work has stayed relatively consistent, the artist believes people are seeing it in new ways. His work suggests a satirical search for meaning in the decay of a detached modern society. However, Kokoski encourages multiple readings of his work, and hopes that the ambiguous nature of each piece allows his audience to create their own meaning.

“This will be my second solo opening in Cleveland, though I have been involved with several group openings as well,” explains Kokoski. “I think that people are beginning to see that there is more to my work than bright colors and strategically juxtaposed images. I don't often speak about meaning or significance in my work, (I'm much more interested in what the viewer imagines), but i think it is fair to mention that each piece is a journey of self discovery and a search for my relationship to the universe. The show title, ‘Reaching For Nothing,’ raises the question of ‘What if?’ What if our search for meaning is really just us reaching for nothing? Seems like a grim outlook, but I think of it more as an opportunity to search for beauty in randomness and happy accidents.”

Reaching For Nothing includes mixed media collage, acrylic pours and original window art. Kokoski is also a musician, and guests will have the opportunity to pick up a special, commemorative CD.

“The show will revolve around my favorite art forms; mixed media collages, some new windows as well as miniature windows,” reveals Kokoski. “I have even added some acrylic pours on canvas for variety. I am including about 30 pieces for this show, 10 of which will be a first time showing. I am even in the process of putting together a limited run of my acoustic album, ‘Drunken Pirate Songs,’ from summer 2014 on CD. I have added a rough cut of a new song which will be the title track for my upcoming album. The cover art for this CD doubles as a print of a favorite collage which will also be available as an original artwork at the opening.”

The nickname Spare Parts refers to Kokoski’s use of found objects and found ideas in his work. However, his acrylic pours are perhaps his favorite work to make.

“Fluid pours are the reason why I make art, explains Kokoski, “It’s messy, it drips everywhere, the colors don’t really mix as much as they swirl, it’s constantly moving and holding onto a potential pattern is physically impossible. I love the unpredictability and lack of total control; I pick a few colors and the angles of the drip and gravity does the rest. It’s meditative to watch from start to finish.”

Kokoski’s “windows” combine all of his mediums and concepts together. These works include dual acrylic pours, intricate collage and inlays of .22-caliber bullet casings. The result is something truly unique; unlike anything else in town.

“The windows are a combination of dual acrylic pours done simultaneously and collaged frames with .22 caliber bullet casing inlay, he explains. “Though the combinations of paint and collage hold no definitive bond to each other, using all of my forms in one piece, covering all sides in various things gives a feeling of true completion. These also attempt to tell a story, but only through the collage framework”

Kokoski considers himself a self-taught artist, having taken only one art class in college. His work has been exhibited at The Feve, Ginko Gallery, Kendal at Oberlin, Bead Paradise, Yeyo Arts (St. Louis, MO) and the Sandusky Cultural Center. Additionally, his work has been featured in Bizarre Magazine (UK) and Churn Magazine (US).

The exhibition will remain on view in the 1090 Club at Canopy Collective through the weekend, Saturday, Oct. 10 and Sunday, Oct. 11 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Afterwards, any unsold works will be moved to the Canopy store.

(Canopy Collective) 3910 Lorain Ave., 216-309-1090,
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