Monday, April 2, 2012

Matta: a Centennial Celebration November 7, 2011 through January 28 2012, the Pace Gallery, 534 West 25th Street, New York 10011 by craniv boyd.

 Matta: a Centennial Celebration November 7, 2011 through January 28 2012, the Pace Gallery, 534 West 25th Street, New York 10011 by craniv boyd. 


A phenomenal exhibition of enormous paintings, in strange glorious colors was on view at the Pace Gallery. Roberto Sebasti√°n Antonio Matta Echaurren "Matta" (1911 -2002 )an artist born in Santiago, Chile, was a painter who had a large gallery exhibition that it rivals some small scale museums in the same city of New York. At the time of the exhibition, many of the extra large paintings had not been viewed outside of Europe, and the largest of which measured 13 x 27 feet or approximately 3,4 x 9 meters.


The paintings are non representational, yet some how they do bear resemblance to microscopic bodies. Think of computer medical imaging, given the task of representing the interior architecture of an amoeba. The structures in Matta's paintings can be said to look like events  happening on a cellular, microscopic level, however as they are vast canvass, one sees the intrigue of a Petri dish, given epic, colossal proportions. Was Matta, with his later paintings, saying that life's drama can occur within even the smallest of organisms? 


Cosmos Mental, a painting  from the year 1991, alludes, in it's title, to a possible stage where Matta's  painted imagery might be said to transpire. That of the mind. In the canvass, of which the dominate color range is of a mauve red purple tirade, there are projected rectangular forms in harsh black, and more fluid white lines which are arc like, and inscribe no closed form. At times, the white lines are set in the painting at diagonals. These white lines evoke alacrity, when contrasted with the buoyant closed forms of the empty cubes. These oppositional types of bodies populate the picture plane, a field of mottled color, a space that looks like vapor. The title calls attention to both the universe  with the Greek word for order, and with the adjective mental, cognition is where this order is pro-ported to be. The mind, it would appear for the artist Matta, is where the contemplation of big space can occur. Cosmos Mental looks like an mural of what thoughts look like, as a mind thinks them. Due to the fact that the painting is mega-sized, a viewer of this painting is left with the impression that small thoughts have big potential. 


 A first generation surrealist painter who made paintings that touch upon space form, and philosophical modernist concerns. It is striking to see such substantial modernist art that is consistently reflective of Matta's celebrated paintings from the 1940's, painted at a time when a fickle art markets had seen, and sold generations of Pop ism, Minimal ism, Neo Expression ism, Neo Geometric ism, Happenings, Performance etc. That is not to say that Matta's artwork from the 1990's is in some way static, a shipwreck in tidal waves of artistic progress, or more of the same hermetic creations from the nineteen fifties. No, Matta: A centennial Celebration, is moreover a testament to a profound artistic vision, that was sensitive, delicate, refined, masterful, and oblivious to trend based posturing. by craniv boyd. 

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