Artist: Matthew Chambers
Venue: UNTITLED, New York
Date: October 22 – December 12, 2010
Full gallery of images, press release and link available after the jump.
Images courtesy of UNTITLED Gallery, New York
UNTITLED is rather pleased to announce its first-ever solo exhibition, a suite of brand new paintings by Matthew Chambers. The exhibition continues the artist’s longstanding distillation and regurgitation of the act of painting as filtered through his own visual memory. Comprised of a selection of thirty-six canvases all measuring eight by four feet, hung virtually edge-to-edge, the exhibition includes representational, abstract, and ripped “strip” paintings. In addition, two handmade books of study drawings for the paintings, one abstract, the other representational, will be exhibited publicly for the first time. These two books, bound by the artist’s mother, are an idiosyncratic key to Chambers’ practice, each filled with the geometry and purloined images that make up his vast visual language.
The Los Angeles-based Chambers (b. 1982) is in constant dialog with the history of representational and abstract painting; for him, the latter always extends from the former. His fast, dirty, and wry representational practice is a study in the theft of images from art history, from pop-culture, and from his own fevered imagination. For Chambers, the only way to deal with our overloaded culture of images is to articulate and regurgitate all that he takes in. These paintings–an overhead shot of men working pit-stop-like on a car, twisted fast-food mascots, lushly painted naked men–seem like snapshots, each different in texture and treatment but clearly from the same mental archive. Perspective and scale change radically from image to image but, somehow, the point of view feels consistent across the pictures on view.
Chambers’ abstract works are a further transposal: they take the overload, the leftover, and the discarded representational paintings, digest them into strips, and then reorient them into a dizzying display of form and texture. In these works, the abstract is built quite literally from the failure to represent; they are built from the ground up using the detritus of yesterdays work. They have a dynamism that seems not a retreading of modernist abstract precedents but something new, other.
But to create a separation or tension between the abstract and representational in Chambers’ practice is false. In his work they are both the same, both an act of material alchemy well-mixed with an understanding of the image driven and debased nature of our contemporary existence. For Matthew Chambers’ practice is one of collection and dispersal; of stolen glances, half forgotten scenes from foreign films, and CIA backed revolutions. In this archive there is a complete totalization and deconsecration of the image and its referent. But here those images hang anyway.