We would like to introduce you to Matthew Johnson. We had the pleasure of meeting Matthew on our recent trip to Melbourne and he kindly offered talk to us about his current exhibition Matthew Johnson – Intricacies 2011 at Block Projects in Melbourne.
The drawings you have done for the next exhibit at Block Projects, Melbourne, seem to mark a radical departure from your usual work..What inspired the change? “The works on paper in the exhibition are not so much of a departure from previous work but a re-iteration of earlier work that involved other forms of abstraction, sequencing,structure, and colour. In a sense this body of work encompasses the evolution and de-evolution of the grid.”
You often work on architectural projects. is the complex geometry in this work a reflection of that sort of discipline? “Yes recently I have been translating my work into built architectural facades, the geometry that is employed in that process is similar to my practice as a whole. Often some of my paintings are the catalyst for the architectural designs and the evolution of process and translation reveals other intricacies during the transition from an artwork to a built form..”
How much of the process can you reveal for the creation of these drawings? The process in making the works on paper evolved from known grid patterns. The intention was to de- construct and distort the grid patterns to reveal other truths about our perception of mathematics but also how colour added to the cells within the grid patterns actually reveal our understanding of decorative interpretations of nature and structural forms. The material process involved the use of drawn grid patterns are the initial process,the use of painted gouache is then applied to the areas of the grid.
Some perceptual illusion is happening in these works, for from a distance they look man made and yet close up we see you have meticulously hand painted every mark and many of the markings are not symmetrical or mechanically neat at all….was this illusion part of your intention? “Yes the intention was to reveal the ”imperfectness” of the human hand within these works [as meticulous as they are in there application], the visual coherency differs from viewing each artwork at close proximity to that of viewing the artwork from a distance. It is the relationship between macro and micro visual perception that I was interested in exploring with this body of work.”
Geometry and colour. The two play a huge role in your artwork…why and how? “The use of geometry and colour has always been the underpinning structure my work. The visual language that best describes my work is that I remain an abstract colourist,and often my work explores a perception of ethereal forms within the natural environment as well as imbuing the built form with a “human” sensibility. Colour to me is really a language that I employ as a sensory language it is never perceived as arbitrary. The use of the grid remains the cellular structure in which my colour language inhabits.”
Were the works time consuming to create? They almost look as detailed as hand woven rugs…. “The making of artworks as far as time is concerned is never measured in real time they kind of just evolve!!
In saying that though the works on paper are intricate and small so everything is done with miniature brushes like small icons.”
7. What is your relationship to paper? How different is working on paper to any other medium. What freedoms does it allow and what limitations? “My relationship to the medium of paper is very different to other media that I work with. I have not exhibited works on paper for quite some time now so that might be viewed as somewhat of a revelation to what the general public might understand of my broader practice. Working on paper is really an explorative process there is something fresh and revealing that lies within the materials there is an immediacy of ones intentions. Drawing really reveals the conceptual perimeters of my intent. But drawings or works on paper always remain as entities within in themselves. There aren’t really any restrictions or limitations with working on paper every material has it’s inherent qualities.”
Matthew Johnson – Intricacies 2011
30 July – 31 September 2011
79 Stephenson Street Cremorne 3121 VICAustralia Tel: +61 3 9429 0660 email@example.com www.blockprojects.com Opening Hours Tuesday via appointments only. Wednesday – Friday 11-5pm. Saturday 11-4pm Sunday 12-4pm