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A double take: ‘Pablo Matisse’ riffs off two great painters

The Brooklyn Paper
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Get two great artists for the price of one!

A Bay Ridge art school will have you seeing double with an exhibit that combines the work of Pablo Picasso and Henri Matisse. The artist behind the “Pablo Matisse” painter, whose show will open at the Art Room on Nov. 13, says that blending the King of Cubism with the Master Impressionist makes for something entirely new.

“My intention is to kind of combine their forces,” says Dane LaChiusa, the alter-ego of the evening’s mash-up artist. “What I enjoy is creating a kind of ambiguity by taking the motifs of these two and combining them in a way that’s almost surreal.”

LaChiusa, who teaches cartooning classes to kids at the Art Room, normally works in a fairly minimal style. But working as Pablo Matisse — the name with which he signed each piece of art — made him stretch outside of his usual methods.

“I really feel like it’s an entirely different style,” he said. “There might be some Dane LaChiusa that creeps in, but it’s really about drawing on the influence of Matisse and Picasso.”

Pablo Picasso once said that good artists copy, while great artists steal. By that measure, “Pablo Matisse” may be the greatest artist of our generation, not just biting the artists’ style but lifting figures whole from one painting and dropping them into another. For instance, the “Icarus Running on the Beach” echoes “Two Women Running on the Beach,” but it replaces the second woman with the flat black figure from Matisse’s “Icarus.”

The Bay Ridge illustrator and art director has spent the last year creating the 20 pieces in the show, and is looking forward to seeing how people react to his creative combinations. Still, his work is no replacement for the Masters, he says.

“No one’s bigger than Picasso and Matisse — I’m just a little guy who’s experimenting in this realm,” said LaChiusa. “But I enjoy seeing what happens when you composite these elements that were not in the same place before.”

LaChiusa says that he chose these particular painters because of their influence on him — and on the art world as a whole.

“I thought I would take the love affair that I have for these artists to another level. It’s one thing to appreciate the art, and it’s another to re-incarnate it in a way,” he said.

“Pablo Matisse” at the Art Room [8710 Third Ave. between 87th and 88th streets in Bay Ridge, (347) 560–6572, www.pablomatisse.com]. Opening reception Nov. 13, 7–9 pm. On display through Nov. 27, Mon–Sat, 11 am–6 pm. Free.

Reach arts editor Bill Roundy at broundy@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260–4507.
Updated 10:17 pm, July 9, 2018
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