Prompted by a recent severe injury to my painting hand, my latest body of work is called the “Elemental Series”. Working in equal parts of artistic inquiry and physical therapy, this new series focuses on the panels themselves as subject matter. Their arrangement is depicted as part of the composition, and painted on a singular canvas. They are bound by the canvas edges, much like my hand’s movement was bound by bandages.
The effect is almost Trompe-l’oeil, and the paintings appear similar to photographs of the dimensional multi-panel paintings, further blurring the lines of perception. The panels in the painting are not devoid of subject matter, and depict different materials and effects: ice, snow, fabric and also light and shadow. This provides a visual anchor so the viewer may navigate the paintings and explore the conceptual elements more easily
Following the emotional distress and increasing anxiety brought by the apparent repeat of historical events, this series of paintings utilize Art Deco design elements and motifs which have been co-opted to represent the comeback of archaic and damaging beliefs and behaviors seen nearly 100 years ago.
Art Deco was the design aesthetic that was popularized during the "Roaring Twenties"; a time of income inequality, extreme opulence, and civil liberty movements which defined the era. It was also during this gilded age that everything that was built up nearly collapsed. The parallels between modern society and a hundred year ago are horrifying.These paintings use altered original Art Deco designs and motifs to convey a modern message of resilience in the face of the modern political atmosphere.
This series was made possible by the Minnesota taxpayers through the 2016 Artist Initiative Grant form the Minnesota State Arts Board. These paintings combine mapping, nostalgic sentimentality, and story telling into a single, cohesive narrative that bridges the gap between Minnesotans throughout the State as Mat explored various small-town diners.
The paintings were displayed in the diners they depicted for over a year, along with postcards of the paintings which contained the story and history of each location. Brochures were included which gave the location of each painting in the State; forming a 2,000 mile circuit around the State.
This series of paintings builds upon the previous Neo-Cubist series and asks the questions, “What constitutes a composition?” and “Can loss be an additive process?”. By allowing the subject matter to dictate the development of the composition and editing out the superfluous elements, the paintings are better able to integrate into the surrounding area.
These paintings expand beyond the traditional diptych or triptych, and embraces the concept of loss rather than attempting to divorce the painting from it’s space. In doing so, the paintings allow the space to enter the composition, and thereby allow the painting to exist in a nebulous region which allows them to become sculpture/installations as well as paintings.
This series should not exist, and were borne from an attempt to disprove its feasibility. Utilizing notes from “Modern Chromatics, with Application to Art & Industry” by Ogden Rood, color investigations by Hans Hoffman, and modern understandings of color science, this series succeeded in proving the theories of the aforementioned, allowing for the creation of color through optical mixing and mutual-contrasting colors.
Twenty-seven “prototypes” were created, with each exploring and building upon the previous. By using only red, blue, green, and black, all other colors were able to be created optically. Those colors include both yellow and white. These paintings work by reacting with the three color receptors in the eye: red, blue, and green, which create the entire gamut of colors we perceive. Black (and later paintings which include flecks of white) react with the light and dark sensing receptors to provide the contrast necessary for the brain to properly perceive the images.
The Neo-Cubist series is the nexus of Mat’s oeuvre, and combines technology and digital image making with traditional means of oil painting. In this series, images are combined digitally to create visual dialogue and to form compositions that are otherwise impossible to create using traditional forms of making. The computer thus becomes as vital to these paintings as a ruler and compass were to the Renaissance painters.
This series began as an exploration and follow-up to the ideas of cubism: various points of view seen simultaneously. However, in this case the various points of view explore time, mind, anachronisms, nostalgia, and modernity as seen with the historical baggage that only oil paintings can provide.
Using the tenants of Cubism, various views of the same structure, related images and visual metaphors come together to create a composition imbued with subconscious narration. These paintings read more like memories or the way we naturally see the world than as singular images. Related imagery overlaps, fades out, and come together. The composition is more about depicting the idea of a thing, than the thing itself.