76 Grand Street
Matt Greene's recent work in 2009 was about finding a space for representational art in contemporary culture. How does our way of seeing fit into the natural world? The artist sought to find some common ground between the historical form of painting and the indexed stacking of images created by digital media. In Pictures of Women, his second solo show at Deitch Projects, Greene presented large-scale works that furthered his investigations into the connections between sexual fetish, the female figure, and forms in nature. Asserting that painting occupied an inherently ambiguous space between fantasy and material, Greene's landscapes depicted environments in which multilayered images superimposed themselves over the experience of reality. Faceless androgynous figures engaged in ritualized behavior in spaces resembling holograph viewing rooms from science fiction, gridded chambers onto which fantasies were projected. These works incorporated drawing and photography interchangeably and indifferently; the heavily textured surfaces that emerged were dripped with thick coatings of varnish that trapped the images like insects in amber.
Arthur Rimbaud's desire for the artist to act as a "morbid compost from which spring enchanted mushrooms" fascinated Greene throughout his career. The artist's study of mycology was evident in this body of work--fingers clenched mushroom stems, a head was replaced with a mushroom cap, feet grew into the soil. Mushrooms were the reproductive parts of an otherwise invisible organism; the desire to be invisible was at the heart of voyeurism and fetishism. Greene worked extensively with links between sexual imagery and the amorality of reproduction in other organisms. It was his hope to address the feminist critique of the male gaze while acknowledging its existence. By removing specific details of individuality from the subjects in the paintings, Greene sought to study the role of looking in human sexuality with the objective eye of a botanist in the field.
Each work began with a series of photographic thumbnails taken by the artist that were glued onto the canvas in a bulletin-board fashion. From this array, Greene selected images to enlarge on the canvas. A deep sense of illusionist space was created with lines of perspective, only to be flattened by the application of subsequent layers. As the surface built up with paint and paper, incisions were made and areas were peeled back; excavations which revealed earlier incarnations of the work. Quilt-like patterns emerged between textures and images, only to be covered again in ejaculatory layers of paint that built up like cave formations. In a series of pencil drawings, Greene arranged figures in bands resembling caryatids, the female-shaped load bearing columns of classical architecture.
Matt Greene's work was included in Against the Grain at Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions, Mannerfantasien 2 at COMA in Berlin, Eden's Edge at the UCLA Hammer Museum in Los Angeles, Fractured Figure at the Deste Foundation in Athens, Dream and Trauma at Kunstalle Vienna, and The Left Hand of Darkness at The Project in New York. Publications include Hellbound: New Gothic Art, edited by Francesca Gavin, and Mythtym, edited by Trinie Dalton.
March 8 - 11, 2018
We will present a special solo project by the artist JR.
Image: JR, Migrants, Walking New York City, 2015
April - May 2018
18 Wooster Street
76 Grand Street
New York, NY 10013
Monday – Friday
10 AM – 6 PM
Tuesday – Saturday
Noon – 6 PM
The gallery reopens with People in April 2018.
+1 (212) 343-7300
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