Tour and Trance will be Matt Blackwell’s fourth solo show at the Edward Thorp Gallery and will include recent mixed media paintings, sculpture and drawings.
Blackwell’s latest Tour takes us through various landscapes including the states of Maine, New Hampshire, New York, Appalachia, Georgia, New Mexico and onto Northern Europe. The Trance part of the title alludes to the often-isolated figures that appear in transfixed reflection in these cryptically crafted landscape settings.
Blackwell’s works are populated with such characters as baseball coaches, stoic bank tellers, mid-western farmers, buffalo-headed men, and biblical characters. Blackwell sets free this cast of players by a manner of methods at times raw, spontaneous, funny, tragic, acerbic and absurd.
In this new series of work, themes of independence, worship, Bohemia, farm labor, myth, infused with indictments on politics and our pre-occupation with technology. Further illustrated by titles that are inspired by lyrics from Tom Waits, Po Boy, Roly Salley with also some Flemish proverbs included in association for good measure.
In Blackwell’s vision of America inspiration ranges from R. Crumb’s Mr. Natural cartoon, Alfred Jarrys Ubu with some assists from Max Beckman and Eric Heckls expressionist nudes. Articulating a radical, folksy sentiment, with humor and power, poising literary and visual means. Using a powerfully material paint handling at times offhand with the perceptive use of collage elements, they are often executed with a clear intention but also allowing the process of free association to inform the narrative, drawing on his knowledge of folk music, Americana, art history and politics as a intuitive resource of cultural reference.
The artist works with various media, oil on linen, paper, sheet metal, caulk and wood to create a vast range of works always probing and questioning in which all characters are vying for position on the proverbial soap box to tell their story.
Matthew Blackwell has lived in Maine, New York State and Brooklyn.