gallery walls

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gallery walls

Postby mdmattin » Sat Sep 09, 2017 3:54 am

My show opened last night. Had a great turnout, lots of positive feedback, even sold a couple!
I took these shots in the morning before:

section 1.jpg
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section 2.jpg
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section 3.jpg
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section 4.jpg
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section 5.jpg
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section 6.jpg
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section 7.jpg
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Re: gallery walls

Postby Russ » Sun Sep 10, 2017 12:56 am

Fantastic!
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Re: gallery walls

Postby RajeshS » Sun Sep 10, 2017 5:03 am

Just so super Matthew!!

There's the one with the blue sky in the top right hand corner - peeking through clouds! It is so magnificent!

I am just so happy seeing this Matthew.

Wish you all the very best for the show - hope there are many many more to come.

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Re: gallery walls

Postby Andre Jute » Sun Sep 10, 2017 10:06 pm

What a wonderful collection of paintings! Congratulations, again, on your show, Matthew. May it be the first of many.

Rajesh: that's a nicely balanced picture you chose, the blue sky top right symmetrical with the shaded area bottom left. Love that blue!
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Re: gallery walls

Postby mdmattin » Mon Sep 11, 2017 4:14 am

Thank you!
This is a big step forward for me, and I want to thank Russ and the rest of you on Sketch Forum for all the support, encouragement, and information you've offered over the years. I've learned a lot and gained confidence from being a member of this community.

Matthew
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Re: gallery walls

Postby Rebecca » Mon Sep 11, 2017 10:15 pm

This is a very good collection. It is a place story. Each is a poem. I wonder if seeing these all in one place as a show gives you new ideas that might not have occurred to you otherwise?
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Re: gallery walls

Postby mdmattin » Fri Sep 15, 2017 4:41 am

Thank you Rebecca! That is an interesting question. Certainly the whole process of preparation - collecting, selecting, framing, pricing - caused to me to reexamine my work in different ways, and in some cases this led to new ideas. Seeing it all together in the gallery, I hadn't realized how much of a thing I have for trees! Or maybe it's my environment - there are lots of nice trees around here. When I lived in Boston, I did more buildings and populated street scenes. A unifying theme is light - I'm most often motivated to sketch something by some quality of light, often the late afternoon effect of the low sun's ligtht shining through all of the dust and smog produced by the USA on its way to me on the east coast. I need to get better at shadows.
This shows marks the end of a phase of my life that is alluded to in the Three Women painting - the stage when one is caring for kids who will soon fly the nest and aging parents preparing to leave this life. I started on that painting in 1993, and worked on it by fits and starts the whole time my kids were growing up and my parents were growing old. Now the kids are out in the world and my parents are gone, so it's time to be done with that painting and start something new. I don't know what it will be yet.
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Re: gallery walls

Postby Rebecca » Sat Sep 16, 2017 8:00 pm

Question,
Does "section 1" show your most recent paintings?
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Re: gallery walls

Postby mdmattin » Mon Sep 18, 2017 2:25 am

No, they aren't arranged chronologically - I grouped them by medium, theme, and visual affinity. Section 1 has pieces from 2015, 2016, and 2017.
I set up a "virtual tour" that connects the section views to detailed info and audio descriptions: www.matthewmattingly.com/p/burnett-show.html.
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Re: gallery walls

Postby Rebecca » Wed Sep 20, 2017 1:22 am

Got it. I was trying to organize my reaction to these as I compared them to the others. I wondered if they represented a new direction. These show more, say, "molten" conditions compared to the rest of the show. The usual treatments for this tricky type of subject don't usually have the formal compositional solutions you used in yours. I noticed you didn't discuss composition, but rather talked about shapes of areas, light qualities, and the downplay of representational detail. But maybe you did later. I only listened to the discussion about this set. Hey, I also noticed berm had not been a part of your vocabulary before I talked about the plants in the foreground. I actually had to search my memory for the word, just so I could discuss your painting.
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Re: gallery walls

Postby Andre Jute » Thu Sep 21, 2017 12:13 am

"Berm" is a common word in Alaska, for a snow wall.
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Re: gallery walls

Postby Rebecca » Thu Sep 21, 2017 6:34 pm

Andre Jute wrote:"Berm" is a common word in Alaska, for a snow wall.

In the desert, I'm learning berm is the word for the sand ridge left on the side of the road after the weed and debris clearing equipment passes. The equipment acts like a snow plow.
And people build berms to deflect flash flood waters.
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Re: gallery walls

Postby mdmattin » Sat Sep 23, 2017 9:23 pm

Rebecca wrote: I also noticed berm had not been a part of your vocabulary before I talked about the plants in the foreground. I actually had to search my memory for the word, just so I could discuss your painting.

Hah! So that's where it came from! You can hear me searching my memory in real time in the audio description. Actually, I first encountered "berm" in the early 2000's - it was popping up all over place along with other military jargon as we were collectively inducted into the new garrison state. The US led invasion force was describing as crossing over a berm to enter Iraq, and I worked on a project relating to emergency management where toxic chemicals were contained by a small portable berm. However, 'berm plants" or the designation of the raggedy area beside the road as a berm I had not heard. I looked it up and as usual on Google discovered a whole world of berm plant consciousness going on.
Anyway, about the "molten" conditions - can you elaborate? I feel that I've been working on a few different threads and trying to weave them together - first, simply achieving better accuracy of observation, incuding shape, line, scale, color, etc, second, building a better intuitive sense of composition by studying classical forms and other artists' work, and third, getting control of my tools and materials. The overall goal being to capture an emotional response to an experience and express it visually.
The molten quality might be coming from my attempts to build a visual experieince that transcends the underlying subject matter and structure, and takes on a life of its own. Sort of like a musician soloing over a chord progression - a good solo reaches a point where explicit references to the original form are gone and the musician is freely inventing - but the form is still there if you listen for it.
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Re: gallery walls

Postby Rebecca » Sun Sep 24, 2017 2:09 am

mdmattin wrote:Anyway, about the "molten" conditions - can you elaborate?
...The molten quality might be coming from my attempts to build a visual experieince that transcends the underlying subject matter and structure, and takes on a life of its own...
Matthew

Readers, please let me apologize in advance. I'm going to say some things that might sound mean and critical, but these are not things I believe for casual sketching. I love casual sketching because rules really don't impact them. Sketches are a playground for joy. Matthew's paintings are verging on something beyond sketching, so for me, rules of critique are different.

"Molten" is another word I dug up to summarize what I saw. I haven't heard it before, but I've seen how Bay Area plein air artists tend to handle hills and valleys with contours that are smoothed and softened by fields of grass and weeds, areas of domed grassy masses, cotton ball shaped shrubs, rounded oaks, etc. It's a rolling and rounded affair -- molten, plastic, rotund, lacking hard stops, and either most of the landscape shares similar values (levels of light and dark), or transitions between values are soft. Executed a la prima, the paintings tend to get muddy, and whatever composition that could be teased from these broad curvy soft edged masses, well, composition just doesn't seem to be a goal. Big curves often sag down at picture edges, draining energy away from the middle of the canvas. Things get equalized everywhere. Everything gets broken into chunks of equal size. Scale is not variable. Repetition is boring as a result. Repetition with rhythm and variety is totally doable, but these artists just don't try for it. At least, not the last time I looked. They could get something pictorially interesting out of all that lush overgrown landscape, but they would need to forfeit some of what is seen in order to bring in interesting division and contrast to get some sort of pictorial stability.

I don't see your solution to managing a similar type of "molten" landscape as a by-product of simplification, but rather, I see formal arrangements accompanying an edited reality. I don't think these are completely resolved, but I don't expect that in a sketch. The compositional ideas you worked out here help mitigate the wavy, potentially saggy, mushy boredom of lush growth. Your winter scenes and the architectural scenes offer helpful hard stops to organize around, and you do that very nicely, whereas relentless lushness with soft clouds can elude stability, but you do seem to be getting around that, meaning, you did good.
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Re: gallery walls

Postby mdmattin » Tue Sep 26, 2017 3:26 am

Hey Rebecca,
Thank you for the astute analysis! I'd have to see an example or two to be sure I got your meaning about the molten paintings, but I think I have a good idea in general. Some of the pieces that didn't make it into the show had that sort of problem. Even though the scene was pleasing to me at the time, I never figured out how to get a strong composition out of it, so it looked like a snapshot, or a post card, or just mushy. The summer New England landscape is very lush and green, with mostly gentle slopes and small to medium scale features. Sometimes I look for a focal point, but more often it's the overall gestalt or balance of forces that attracts me. So I have to look for the bones beneath the surface that are supporting it, and try to get it to work with the containing rectangle, and develop a matrix of shapes and lines that express the robust structures inherent even in lush growth and soft clouds.
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