Monthly Archives: September 2013

Press Release: "Less is and More"

Here is the press release for my show, “Less is and More”, written by Mary Fortuna, Exhibition Director at Paint Creek Center for the Arts. I like Mary’s interpretation of my working process and I want to thank her for inviting me, and all the hard work she’s put into organizing and promoting this show.


Less is and More
Joyce Brienza and Matthew De Genaro
October 4 – November 1, 2013
Opening Reception Friday, October 4, 7 – 9 pm Gallery Talk Saturday, October
5, 2:00 pm

There are as many approaches to art making as there are artists. There are those who are inspired by a wealth of imagery, pattern, color, symbols, cultural and historical reference, and draw on all these elements to create drawings, paintings, collages or objects. Others are moved to simplify and refine their works, drawing on the Modernist interest in material and process. The one samples from any number of sources and seeks a means of unifying them to create a satisfying whole and convey meaning. The other works and reworks an idea, driven sometimes by the material at hand, sometimes by a working process, applying both to a generalized form that lends itself to repeated exploration and experimentation and abstraction. For this show, we have selected two very different artists who use their own individual approaches to create works that are unmistakably their own.

Joyce Brienza is the “more” of this Less/More equation. She uses a collage technique to sample a rich variety of images, patterns and other elements that carry personal associations that resonate for her, creating her “peculiar brand of hip hop.” The critical element for her is pattern, which serves multiple purposes. In the artist’s words, pattern “…is a reference to traditional “women’s” handiwork and questions the duality of high and low art.  It provides a grid formation that connects the floating elements (information) together.   And finally, it works to disrupt the continuity of the image, placing roadblocks in the way of logic and control.”
Matthew De Genaro produces work that is deceptively simple. He creates endless variations on the human figure, abstracting the essential form. He says, “…sometimes the nature of the material defines the figure, at other times it’s the process of working the material that defines it, and sometimes, the figure dictates the use of material and process.” He has explored his figures in every scale and in every material imaginable, including cast bronze, cast resin, carved wood, stone, fabricated wood and metal, inflated fabric, stacked rubber inner tubes, cardboard, even manipulated living grasses.
Joyce Brienza earned her MFA at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey. She has exhibited her work in gallery and museum shows all over the United States and in Germany, Argentina and The Netherlands. She teaches art at several schools in the Detroit area, and has participated in artist residencies in New Jersey and at Children’s Hospital in Detroit.

Matthew De Genaro earned his MFA at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. His work has been exhibited in galleries and museums since 1980.
The works of these two artists complement each other, even as their methods and finished artworks are so divergent. They are two long-time Detroit area residents who have applied themselves for many years with a singular dedication to their methods and materials. They both explore their various media with a purpose and confidence that come from long experience and a willingness to experiment with everything at hand. What perhaps joins them, even with all their difference, is a sense of humor and a playful approach. They share the gift of being serious about their work, without taking themselves too seriously.
Please join us in welcoming these two artists at an opening reception on Friday, October 4th at 7:00 pm. We will host a gallery talk with the artists on Saturday, October 5th at 2:00 pm. The opening reception and gallery talk are free and open to the public. Visitors will enjoy an opportunity to meet the artists and gain some insight into their works.

This exhibit is supported by the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs, the National Endowment for the Arts and the Kresge Foundation.

PCCA exhibitions are sponsored by Dokka Fasteners, the International Academy of Design & Technology, Rochester Hills Spine Care, Whims Insurance Agency and WiT.


The mission of Paint Creek Center for the Arts is to enhance life in the region by promoting, encouraging and creating opportunities to participate in and appreciate the arts. Paint Creek Center for the Arts is open Monday through Thursday, 9:00am to 7:00pm, Friday 9:00am – 5:00pm, and Saturday, 10:00am to 4:00pm. PCCA is located at 407 Pine Street in downtown Rochester at the intersection of Pine and Fourth Streets. For information on exhibits, classes, the Art & Apples Festival, special events or volunteer opportunities, call 248-651-4110 or visit<>.

Mary Fortuna
PCCA Exhibitions Director


Chase and patina

When the cast piece is complete, and the sprues are cut-off, there remain scars where the grinder or saw was used. These areas need to be finished to match the look of the rest of the surface. To chase, is a metalworking term, to ornament metal by engraving or embossing. From this:

To this:


Just mess it up with chisels, punches, files, hammers, stones, whatever, it don’t try too hard to make a match of the texture. It’ll look fine when you heat the spot with a propane torch, which darkens the metal by oxidation I guess.

I leave it all outside for several weeks, and I spray it down regularly with a teaspoon of cupric nitrate mixed with 12 oz water.

..and it slowly turns this nice color. This is patina.


When I’m ready to commit to the patina, I give it a light wax to stabilize and protect it. This darkens and warms up the colors, and brings out the shiny highlights both at once. Real nice.




A and Q supply a nice rock for a base, and Eureka! It is finished & ready to show.


Less is More 6x9 75

October 4 – November 1, 2013

Main Gallery: Joyce Brienza & Matt De Genaro
Opening Reception: Friday, October 4 – 7pm – 9pm

Paint Creek Center for the Arts
407 Pine Street
Rochester, MI 48307

Gallery Hours: Monday – Thursday 9am – 9pm, Friday 9am – 5pm, Saturday 10am – 4pm

The cave

My Yoga teacher’s teacher’s teacher studied in a cave, so I am two steps removed from that. That’s close connection to the root of a practice.

The Cyclops of The Odyssey, dwelled in a cave. Plato proposed truth in the metaphor of a cave. The oldest known Art is discovered in caves. Deepest caves are unexplored parts of Earth. Mystics (and madmen) are of the caves.

Today I brought my Cyclops sculptures out of the barn to sit in the open and cure their patina in the damp and sun, and it felt for me I was coming out of a cave; a lonely place of deep study and of looking inward for truth. Those who dwell in caves seek no attention and receive few seeking understanding. This is what is seems to me to be an artist. Remote from the world, gazing upon my own interest only, without message, irrelevant to the world.

I know there are artists who cell-phone-in their tunings of the interactivity of their artworks which explore the connections between multi-media performance work and social justice movements, respond to and evoke responses from their viewers about the subjects which their grant sponsors feel are critical, …but I couldn’t care less. That is propaganda compared to my practice.