top of page

George Madarasz

The Persistence of the Real

June 2024

Reception for the Artist
Friday, June 7, 2024, 5-8pm

portrait square 300 ppi.jpg
George Madarasz
The Persistence of the Real

Walter Idlewild

Does a work of art have a cognitive element? Many will respond with a re- sounding “yes,” equating aesthetic value and the skilled infusion of construc- tive materials with an intellectual principle. The alternative is a mindless pattern of craft, a jingle in lieu of a symphony, a gymnast’s split in place of a dancer’s arabesque.

The most careful of observers, though, can fall short when describing the nature of the mental imperative. Can we identify its presence, for example, in the oil paintings of György Madarász? Here a riot of color and shape at once recalls the elusive idealism of abstract expressionism. A closer look, though,oftenrevealstheremnantsof arecognizableimagethatsuggestshow the artist’s mental activity manifests in a completed work.

He achieves visual randomness, once provided by corporate logo pictures from his own computer program, that subjects visual images to arbitrary distortions. “The program can run hundreds of times while generating images with dif- ferent shapes and colors,” he says. “The outcome is always uncertain and continually surprises me.” every iteration suggests new painterly paths. Madarász finds the program’s third party nature especially valuable. “I realized that to come up with something that moves me beyond my personal bound- aries I needed help, and my help is my computer. The machine is not me. It is something else that pulls me out of the present and allows me to peer into something new. My favorite quote on this topic is from Marcel Duchamp: ‘I want to be free, and I even want to be free of myself.’

Whatever the creative seed, it must be simple enough for the computer pro- gram to handle without choking. Indeed, prior to subjecting his foundational image to randomization Madarász often simplifies it further. “I like to get rid of any unnecessary elements, any non-essential external references,” he says. This drive toward purity is yet another inheritance from his days reducing wooden pallets to their essential forms. In conjunction with this simplification Madarász starts to ponder changes. “I look at the object and say, ‘this is not its right shape.’ I feel I must change it in necessary ways. I have to give it a new form.”

The guiding principle for each work, the force that harnesses the wild abandon of the random, arises from Madarász’s engagement with the foundational image. And that is what gives his work a cognitive element, the condition

that separates art from a machine’s random pattern. “If I am engaging in right thinking my concept is really focused with nothing added from the out- side,” he says. “It almost becomes a minimalist thing in itself.” This intensifi- cation is in sharp contrast with many beginning artists, he says, who think superficially. “I usually hate to go to art fairs because you see what I call ‘mod- ern kitsch.’ They use elements they have seen well-known painters use, but just put together with nothing behind it.”

Paradoxically, the surface details which initially attracted Madarász to his sem- inal image usually largely disappear by the time he has completed his refor- mation. “At the end of my work there’s usually no trace of the sign’s history,” he says. “or at least very little.” In its place is something more valuable. “The signs that I begin with possess no intentional aesthetic value. I add my own aesthetics to them.”

If Madarász’s use of randomness seems idiosyncratic, the artist maintains that it is but the latest iteration of a long tradition.

“Artists have always relied on randomness,” he says. “When you work with a brush you create randomness and you don’t know how exactly it’s going to turn out. The abstract expressionists always relied on a kind of Zen state where they just splashed on colors and then saw what happened. Sometimes something good, sometimes something outrageously bad.” In more immedi- ate times, Madarász’s work can be viewed partly as an aesthetic response to “The rouen Cathedral Suite” by roy Lichtenstein, a painter whom Madarász especiallyadmires.Lichtenstein transformedClaudeMonet’spaintingsof the titular cathedral, breaking up their images into exaggerated Ben-day dots. Al- though Lichtenstein painted his works by hand, the machine-like appearance of the resulting images provided the very mechanistic dynamic that, in Madarász’s view, helped Lichtenstein move into new artistic territory. The cost for this transition, though, seemed to be a loss of human presence. “I asked myself, ‘where is the personality here?’” says Madarász. He attempted to address that void by adding his human interpretation to the machine gen- erated abstraction.

The result is a cognitive impress, a child of an intellectual principle that com- bines the working hypothesis of the artist with that individual’s response to randomstimulants,expressedintermsof abstractformsthatsuggestintel- lectual paths beyond the edge of the canvas. Interpretive observers are treated to a glimpse, if hardly a clear view, of a cognitive element that—once active upon the stage—invites irresolute transformation.

Catalog Available

Artist Statement

Madarasz works with non-representational abstract imagery. He received his BFA from the University of Fine Arts in Budapest, Hungary and studied Graphic Communication at Baruch College, New York.

His paintings have been exhibited in the United States, Europe and China.

He was the Director of the Tate Chelsea Gallery in New York, was the author of various videos, including the venice Printing Workshop, held teaching jobs at the Cooper Union, the Harlem School of the Arts and the Fashion Institute of Technology. He also worked in the summer residency at Saint Michael College, Burlington, vermont. He was born in Hungary, lives and works in New York.


I would like to thank the Mosaicartspace team, Andreas Kokkodi, James Triga, for all their efforts to bring this exhibition to fruition, and special thanks to owner John Kalafatis for his support of the arts. I also want to thank Kati vilim and Ford Crull who have been helping to make the exhibition a reality.

Copyright: Gyorgy Madarasz 2024 © All right reserved, 917.557.1273, studio: 526 West 26th Street New York, NY 10001

Reds, 2020, oil on canvas 62x62 inches.jpg
about MAS
Showing by appointment
49-28 31st Place, Long Island City, NY 11101
T: 888.MOSAIC2

About Mosaic Artspace

Mosaic ArtSpace (MAS) is a multi-discipline art venue that aspires to showcase and promote various artistic endeavors with outreach to painters, sculptors, musicians, video, performance, installation artists. 
MAS hosts the artwork of local artists and artists from the NY Metropolitan area and other cities.
MAS seeks to create a dialogue with issues of contemporary art practices to encourage, support and expand creativity and self-expression. To create an environment in which the arts flourish and enrich the quality of life.


© 2022 MOSAIC artspace

bottom of page