VICTOR MATTHEWS | bright… brighter… brightest
September 13 – October 30, 2014
LOS ANGELES, CA (September 5, 2014) - KM Fine Arts | Los Angeles is pleased to present VICTOR MATTHEWS | bright …brighter…brightest… opening 13 September through 30 October 2014. This exhibition marks Victor Matthews first solo exhibition in Los Angeles since the opening of his west coast studio earlier this year. The exhibition features 27 paintings and sculpture accompanied by a fully illustrated catalog and essay by Doug McClemont.
Matthews, an internationally exhibited artist who lives both in Los Angeles and New York, is a New York native with roots in Brooklyn where he was born in 1963. He is a graduate of the New York High School of Art and Design and earned his BFA from the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale, Florida. After completing his studies, Matthews moved back to New York in 1984 to set up his first studio in the East Village.
As a young artist Matthews began his career in New York alongside artists like Richard Hambleton, and Keith Haring who taught Matthews how to stretch canvas. The influence of the first real “street art” movement on his work is palpable. Although he has been known to use the street as a canvas, he is in every aspect a studio painter, and has instead brought the street into his canvases.
For the last decade Matthews has been creating perfectly choreographed mosaic-like paintings of whitewashed and abstracted cityscapes. His canvases, visually complex, are teeming with objects and abstracted shapes formed out of a bright white and heavy impasto paint. Each form sits on a raw canvas background, elbow to elbow with others without overlapping.
While painting in his New York studio, banal urban objects such as sneakers, hydrants and brick find their way into his Zen-like paintings. Abstracted brick walkways are topped with sneakers in profile, water towers stand like mountains and stylized pigeons sit comfortably atop the Brooklyn Bridge.
This Los Angeles exhibition marks an unexpected shift in his paintings. For past year Matthews has called his Los Angeles studio home, and all of the works in the exhibition were created on what he affectionately calls “the West Side of America.” This new work is markedly more abstract and reflects the nature of a more sprawling environment. The intricacies of the urban streets are replaced with new kinds of modernist foliage and organic shapes that hint at a story rather than tell it outright. Each shape has become more of the idea or an impression of an object rather than one that is clearly identifiable.
An even more surprising development in his “west side” paintings is the incorporation of color, or what he refers to as “tones” or “moods”. Rich blue, oranges, and yellows have found a home in his new paintings and serve as warm backgrounds for the still-bright objects to float upon. They exude a calm richness without losing their bright and hopeful optimism.
Although this will be Victor’s first solo exhibition in Los Angeles, he has been exhibited in numerous solo exhibitions in the US and abroad including the 48th Venice Biennale in 1999, Museum Sala Uno (Rome), the Boca Museum of Art, the Guggenheim Museum (Venice) and The Sculpture Center (New York). In 2013, Matthews exhibited in the 55th Venice Biennale, friends and collectors Salman Rushdie and Francesco Clemente composed the introduction for the published catalog.
His work is in the permanent collections of the Museum Overholland (Amsterdam), the International Center for Contemporary Art (Rome), Cornell University (Ithaca NY), Museum Ludwig (Cologne), New School (New York), and Museum Nuova Icona (Venice), as well as in the private collections of Russell Simmons, Brice & Helen Marden, Jay Z, L.A. Reid, Francesco & Alba Clemente, Vera List, Ed Norton, Mary J. Blige, Nathaniel Rothschild, Forest Whitaker, President Mogae of Botswana, Donald Trump, Ronald Perelman and Salman Rushdie, among others.