BREAKING THE SURFACE

Matt Story, February 2019


February 1, 6-8pm


Artist(s):

Matt Story

About the Exhibit

I was striving to put classical forms in contemporary settings in a new way.  When I saw the underwater environment, I was hooked!  So instead of Manet’s Olympia reclining nude on a sofa, I have her doing a backflip underwater in a bikini! (Ha! Take that École de Beaux-Arts!)…

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Breaking the Surface

 

Contemporary Figurative Paintings by Artist Matt Story

 

February 1  – February 22, 2019

 

Opening Reception: February 1, 6-8 PM

 

 

Robert Lange Studios upcoming exhibit, Breaking the Surface, features the work of the contemporary figurative artist Matt Story. In this series of paintings Story captures the movement created by the figure as it moves underwater, specifically focusing on bright uplifting colors. All are welcome at the February 1 opening from 6-8pm where the artist will be on hand to answer questions.

 

“For me, “Breaking the Surface” is a trinity of meaning: firstly, simply piercing the surface of the water and taking a breath when bubbling up from below; but also, breaking the surface of the painting to see through the two dimensions of the work to construct the three dimensional idea in mind; but also, breaking the surface of meaning to reach a deeper more collective experience triggered by viewing a particular depiction,” says Story.

 

Story while creating his paintings often has the viewer’s experience in mind. “The paint surface is in some sense a mirror for the viewer, reflecting back not his or her superficial self, but a deep shared humanness. This is the essence of looking at a piece that’s totally unfamiliar to you and yet, being awed with a sense of recognition. Your reactions, those memories and feelings are uniquely yours but you’re suddenly filled with a sense that you share them, at least with the artist, but probably even with everyone else. That of course is art at its best: the artist, sometimes doesn’t even know what he’s doing because he’s a conduit of his or her own collective awareness,” said Story.

 

In a number of works in the show Story plays with the emotions created when a figure is juxtaposed against a foreign feeling space. “Two pieces in this show particularly bely my recent obsession with the feeling of cool and warm tones closely transitioned.  In Cool Blue Night, the figure is warm and alive in an otherwise cool void.  In Neon Green Layback, there is a similar play between cool and warm tone, but not sharply transitioning in tenebrism, but instead graduating ever so smoothly from the bright warm surface at the central horizon, to the cool depth below and above.”

 

This exhibit is a celebration of the artist’s love of motion, color and light created in the underwater world. Story says, “I was striving to put classical forms in contemporary settings in a new way.  When I saw the underwater environment, I was hooked!  So instead of Manet’s Olympia reclining nude on a sofa, I have her doing a backflip underwater in a bikini! (Ha! Take that École de Beaux-Arts!)

 

I’ve also always been attracted to rendering extreme lighting conditions (such as with my cityscapes at night in the rain, or treed landscapes in the snow near dusk).  And the natural light in an underwater environment is extreme, with these spectacular aberrations, the fleeting prisms and compound reflections.  It seemed technically impossible at times; so naturally, I thought it was the ideal brick wall to begin pounding my head against.”

 

Through out history water has been a strong point of symbolism. Story said, “I think, one of the things painting does well, as an art form, is present metaphor.  Water is this amazing metaphor for the deeper self.  We drink, wash, drown, float, swim and splash our way through life.  When I paint a woman floating under water, I see her as suspended in her own self-awareness.  She’s immersed in the deeper self, with its risks and fears, and then her emerging takes on a sense of re-birth, a cleansing, a baptism.  Our first sensations occurred to us while floating in a warm, nurturing maternal pool too, so the similes are complex.

 

Of course, water also has a fun playful side.  We all share those memories of fun and relaxing summers at beaches and pools, immersed in joy. I’d bet the vast majority of us have at least one cherished memory like that.”

 

Exhibit Images


Opening Night

ROBERT LANGE STUDIOS

TWO QUEEN ST, CHARLESTON

Robert Lange Studios