By EVA KATZ Nov 2, 2023
Geoff McFetridge’s aesthetic stands out because it’s deeply feeling and complex but seemingly simple on its surface. That’s because Geoff strips away from pretension and dives right into the murky middle of the quotidian. Human bodies are simplified into geometric shapes and lines, while simultaneously dancing between the amorphous and fluid. There’s something so singularly Geoff in every piece of artwork he creates. Geoff McFetridge: Drawing a Life, directed by Dan Covert is like peeling back a layer of Geoff’s cranium and discovering the inner workings of his creative output. We meet a man who never followed a traditional career path, and yet, still ended up with serious accolades and success. His visual vocabulary is a language all its own that oscillates between emotions and forms in the most unique way. Geoff’s art relies on minimal lines and shapes by design. He builds big only to strip away all of the pretenses and create a welcome spareness that is singularly Geoff. Human connection, intimacy and interaction are all themes that hold great weight.
But how did Geoff get to this place? He learned to feel comfortable failing. He surrounded himself with the love of his family and forged on in their embrace. It sounds saccharine until you see that Geoff and his wife, Sarah Devincentis, are the real deal. She’s equal parts muse and motivator.
Geoff paints his way out of situations similar to someone pulling a loose thread to find out what happens. What is left when you strip away from all of the excess? Amidst shots of Geoff sitting at his desk in his sun-drenched studio, canvases are covered in light. That’s by design. His creativity is like a well of light. If that sounds like an oxymoron, that’s because it absolutely is. “The deeper you go, the lighter it gets” is a common refrain that seems like a paradox. Isn’t it usually the other way around? But Geoff is meticulous about his craft. He says: “I like to test myself. Doing revisions no one is asking me to do.”
His nonstop brain and his obsessiveness with process and routine contribute to his prolific body of work. His zen-like commitment to his craft coincides with his equally admirable respect for the outdoors. Geoff spends a lot of time in nature, and in solitude with his thoughts. This path leads him through darkness and when he gets to the other side of it, that’s where the thought passes through.
This film allows you to get to know Geoff intimately. His candor and approachability are all themes in his work as well. He makes everything look so ridiculously simple. But that’s where he gets you. But don’t ever ask him to take a meeting to gleam more insight. That would just be disrespectful. Geoff doesn’t do meetings. WM
Eva Katz is an arts and culture writer based in Los Angeles. Her work has appeared in Afar, Los Angeles Magazine, Cool Hunting, Hi-Fructose and more. She’s the author of two books (Think Small and Creative Writing) and will do just about anything to chase a story.view all articles from this author