very much looking forward to more pix and congratulations, these are really compelling. I know comparisons are clumsy but I think these are on the same continent as Logan Grider, but about a mile up in altitude. meaning i see a lot more exploration and risk in these.
I can’t wait to see the new pics, and really enjoyed going through Matthew’s site again. I love how the formal and spatial and figurative interact in these. Also add wit in there, as another intertwined field. The titles work so beautifully, succinctly offering witty visual interpretations. I really like how these paintings move my brain around.
These do look great.
I am a little curious about the role of the drawings in the show and the lack of color in The Stomach for It. These two items really made me focus on your outstanding work with color. Since you seem to be so comfortable, and well versed in color, what role do you see a lack of color playing in your work?
Or how do you not use color?
Sorry for such awkwardly phrased questions, it looks like a wonderful show.
I feel a little awkward being a primary poster here on a thread about my work, but did want to make a quick stab at banole’s question about the drawings and their relative lack of color. It basically comes down to a kind of freedom I’m finding in the process of drawing right now. The color or lack thereof is not really the issue, so much as an approach to imagining form just coming out of moving the pen (there are small amounts of color in some of the drawings, hard to see in the photos).
What has surprised me is that the drawings are actually coming out of the work on the big collage-like painting, rather than being an antecedent to painting. Now I am working on mixed-media pieces on paper, incorporating acrylic paint, ink, and pencils, so perhaps color is becoming more of a force in these.
That’s the thing that separates Matthew C from Logan Grider.
With Grider, there is a sense that the elements of idea, discovery and making are really radically separated. As in Logan Grider has a fun idea for a body of work. Spends some time woodshedding to apply the idea to specific design, narrative and stylistic choices. Then slightly improvises paintings on those themes til it’s show time.
The investigation is there, but it’s at a remove from the final product. The good-or-bad of that is arguable. But it is something that other artists score points for letting show. Grider’s version of this separation seems more abrupt than most others—Dana Schutz, Steve Budington, etc.
Matthew C seems involved in finding form and meaning through process at every available opportunity, at any and every stage.
And, just to see if I can get a discussion moving. To vc, or anyone else: what if instead of a two-person comparison, we extend out to three? How would you fit the sense of exploration and risk in Choberka, and then Grider if we must, to Eric Sall. I think you put Sall on the Grider side, where I’d put him on the Choberka.
chris you’ve got me pegged, but now I am doubting myself, so thanks. I think the interesting thing about the strategies you describe is that they mean different things in different contexts (i.e. times, but also arguments, or subcultures, cliques of painters and critics). I think Grider’s technique could potentially be quite critical.
As to Sall, I still puzzle over him. I mean, I wonder what he risks. And looking at his work, even without the sequential photos Martin puts up on anaba, even without those, you can tell he risks a lot, he really throws the image into question. But I feel that there is a certain parameter within which he stays. Of course that’s true for all painters, but Sall is one of a number of painters who seem to make hybridization part of the subject matter, a subject matter that exists not only ON the surface, like a bowl of fruit, but in the procedure and therefore the intellectual context around the work.
Sall strikes me as very smart, very skillful flailing against the futility of modernist utopias, a rejection of any so-called mourning
Well. Don’t feel too bad because I’m going to try to hijack this conversation even further afield.
Last week, I got the dreaded “this is not my style” from a freshman in a beginning drawing course. Worse yet, this young’n claimed to have worked through and mastered the ‘style’ of drawing we are doing in class and that to draw that way would be a ‘regression’. Worse yet, there were sights and blinked-back tears involved.
So for me, there’s no argument based in the intellect that will convince this person why they might not want to be locked into a style when they are 19 years old. Or why investigation through observation might be useful.
It’s just going to have to be babysteps getting this person to come around.
That got me thinking about style as a part of art. And how readily I might dismiss the idea is being juvenile. But also, if I’m being honest, style does matter. I know I have aesthetics preferences. I like Wangechi Mutu’s work, for example, and I can’t think of any reason I do other than style.
I’m just thinking it might be interesting to get a discussion going about style, questioning presumptions and prejudices.
Anyone else wanna weigh in? Are you beyond the reach of style up in your ivory tower?
Also, I was thinking about the difference between having a style, being in style and making work with style. I think Choberka’s work is great starting place because there is definitely a will to go beyond style; like any of us aware of contemporary art, he occassionally dips into ‘in style’ forms; and he’s always, through several bodies of work, aimed for painting with some energy, knowingness and mild virtuosity, that is: having style.
I think the problem with students not seeing the value in observational drawing comes from not realizing they always need to be making the kind of art in which they are really interested, regardless of whether it’s for a class or not. That way, at the very least, I don’t have to delicately explain why the opinions of their “critics” or “fans” on deviantart.com don’t have any bearing on what we’re doing in class.
I think style is available the way anything is–if it’s something you love, you won’t question the ‘why;’ if it’s something you’re unsure about, you’ll analyze and agonize over whether to use it or not, and if you do, it’s hard-won.
Also, what might only appear to be style might be a symptom of something more significant that we can’t identify at the moment.
What I have been saying, to the class as a whole before I even get such a comment, is : “Do you really have a style? or….do you have a way of working in which you feel comfortable?” a way of working that you feel comfortable in. be it manga, photorealist work, illustration, etc.
classwork should not/can not offer a style. the approaches to drawing/painting in a classroom are offering an approach, rather, which is meant to isolate some form of Seeing and/or Language of seeing.
It is great to hear that the drawings are coming out of the installation. Drawings that come from something seem to be able to have style without being limited by style (or the preconceived notions of what lines are, what they can do, and how they should look, that style can sometimes bring).
I’m glad banole’s pushing the conversation away from pedagogy. I’m sorry I’m turning it back for a second to respond to Sam and JLee: In regards to teaching an investigative, style-less approach, I want to be certain that I’m teaching students to love the approach, not browbeating them into it. Winning hearts and minds, as it were.
I agree with everything JLee writes above, I just don’t know that taking an unyeilding stance on it is a pragmatic solution, at least where I’m coming from.
it’s all about desire man. the desire for utopia, the desire for immediacy, the desire for expression, the desire for freedom from expression, and the desire for style-less ness is the source of poignant human content.
i dig what VC says here, but i also think that the source of poignant human content is a kind of reflexive thing. it’s where true style comes from. what people are referencing as “style” here might be better described as “affectation.”
going back to pedagogy for a second… students often come in with their preference for certain styles set and their minds bent on affecting those styles. the genuine interest and vulnerability inherent in truly setting aside assumptions and ideas for the attempt to directly perceive things is hard won. i’m not trying to force anyone to emulate me, but i am attempting to provide an approach that affords multiple strategies and rewards diligence with more than mere affectation and, really, more than mere depiction.
that said, i think a lot of the styles people reference really are approaches born out of true investigation, at least at their root. most of the greats weren’t trying to create a style but a genuine investigation. big difference there.
i thought after I wrote that above that it does sound like browbeating, as i described it above. but it definitely becomes explanation as I describe it further.
If I ask the class to make a still life painting of a single object using only one contour line, then build up with blips/thumbprints of color, primary (r y b plus white) palette, asking of color properties, I might get something that looks like Seurat, or the style of Seurat, pointillism. but I explain it as an ‘investigation’, as described above.
i had a prof in grad school, in a theory class, describe how he was walking through an ug painting class and they were all working on little cubist derived still lifes, very much in the same investigative spirit mentioned above, which i think is vital to teaching, and anyway he started to look at them as “art,” and found them “quaint.”
So given that, and the Seurat-like exercises described above, as well as countless De Kooning / Rauschenbeg etc exercises given to students, I wonder when contemporary stylistic tics (whether investigations or affectations) will filter into the classrooms. . .
what are some of the dekooning/rauschenberg exercises? i’m curious. I don’t think I am aware of any example.
I want to clarify that the seurat-like exercise as I present it is understood as process/thinking First, and artist second. It is important that the student sees their painting as a questioning of color relationships, and that the same thinking is part of what is happening in the seurat. that it is not about dots, pointillist dots..
I have been aware of the neccessity for that sort of structure in a class, that the class is about seeing (seeing relationships, seeing in the language of form, etc.). When I have tried to be more open, as in “we are going to draw today”, I start to get those sorts of comments as mentioned above: that is not my style, etc.
“So for me, there’s no argument based in the intellect that will convince this person why they might not want to be locked into a style when they are 19 years old. Or why investigation through observation might be useful. ”
I shouldn’t been so glib about assigning names to exercises. I didn’t mean to suggest it was about “let’s paint like X!” but rather, as you said, exploring focused areas of form, in that case color.
So I also glibly mentioned DeK and Rausch to identify gestural and collage/assemblage strategies, all of which can help students see the variety of visual vocabularies. I don’t have any specific example. I’ve never really taught painting, and it’s been 3 or 4 yrs since I’ve taught drawing. (art hist nowadays)
I’d like to take this opportunity to remind everyone of our unofficial comment-thread policy:
If your comment is negative, don’t be chickenshit about it. Leave your real name, or a pretty obvious indication of who you are (like a website link). Especially if it’s a pot-shot with no explanation or argument.
I was going to make an argument against both Ruby’s statements above, but have decided, yeah, it’s just snark, not worth it. Even the anonymity doesn’t bother me so much. It’s just that we really want this to be a place for discussion, criticism, etc., not just a forum for dropping insults.