Matt Stone

Artist Statement

My work is currently focused on the formal concerns of shape and color in generating abstract shapes and groupings that converge and diverge in shallow oscillating grounds. I’m not, in most attempts, concerned with a defined pattern, recognizable imagery, or realistic representation. The groupings and shapes within the work often build upon each other into vaguely recognizable shapes or bear an outline that holds to a collective image. The inkwork is often used as a playful in-between, bridging juxtaposed colors or delivering boundaries. My most recent work avoids the use of ink; giving more weight to the colors used and rounding out shapes with saturated volume without flattening them out.

I occasionally wander into naïve illustration within portraiture and landscape. In doing so, I attempt to give voice to subjects and content that many would not find suitable for reproduction. The idea of beauty and dignity coming from the looked-over or discarded is an overarching theme that guides such illustrations.  In reflecting on the colors and bodies used in my current abstractions, the hues and textures I find there are often fused into the massing and intertwined shapes. One would not often find the playing of such colors while on an evening walk; the peeling paint of a garage wall and the glimmer of the sun from a metallic car body, these simmer in my subconscious warehouse of color.

My past work centered on having the viewer “trapped” in an inescapable space where the painting was neither landscape, nor portrait, but telltale signs of both were littered throughout the plane, causing an eye to hover and reach for a ground that was constantly in transition. My new work relies heavily on space, whether white ground or larger portions of a solid or semi-solid color, formally giving the eye time to rest and re-enter a piece, but more importantly, removing distractions and giving the main elements their needed emphasis.

I’ve removed the symbols and repertoire of “cheap” imagery (rockets, squares, fish, lamps). I longed to tell a story with such symbols, but the paintings became cluttered with mixed messages, and shape/color were overshadowed by easily digestible and assumed narratives. By removing such symbols, extra or unnecessary mediums, and restricting the size and content within each composition, the paintings gained new life and have grown in their own respective complexity. I hope to pursue this same vein within a larger scale in new work.

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