Matt Tripodi | Hoist the Black Flag

Opening reception April 13, 2024 from 3 - 6 PM MST at K Contemporary, 1412 Wazee Street, Denver, CO 80202.  The artist will be in attendance.


For his first show at K Contemporary, Matt Tripodi invites us into a world that finds humor in the everyday and where themes range from the monotony and frustration of lawn care to preparing family dinners. His exhibition’s title, Hoist the Black Flag, suggests a flash of defiance and piracy.  The phrase "hoist the black flag" is often attributed to cultural critic, H.L. Mencken, and generally refers to taking a decisive and aggressive stand, often in a rebellious or confrontational manner.  Per Mencken, “Every normal man must be tempted, at times, to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin slitting throats.”


Tripodi's paintings are full of faux nostalgia and nods to a more analog time. He likes graffiti, kid things, absurdity, and instruction manuals.  His paintings resemble sketches or children’s drawings that are uninhibited, playfully immediate, and super-sized.  They might serve as diagrams in a manual illustrating the ins and outs of quotidian life.  For example, Swing at the Strikes, (2023) depicts a stop-motion baseball player in full swing with a schematic rendering of bases, a pennant, mathematical references to a double play, and a giant hot dog floating in the sky. Another painting references women’s health and pesky urinary tract infections while still another shares a favorite recipe for red sauce.


As Tripodi explains, “I want to distance myself from overly serious and self-important art where you’re hanging your problems on the wall. I love the realness and joy in the seemingly mundane.”  


Doug Kacena, K Contemporary’s owner and curator observes, “Tripodi’s loose style and mark-making leave room for imagination. There is plenty of space for viewers to enter. There are no rules as the artist is in a confident and magical state unencumbered by formality and compositional conventions."