When I started trying to promote my own artwork online I kept coming across other people's art that amazed or compelled me in one way or another. This blog has been a way for me to practice thinking and writing about art, as well as learning more about my peers and all the incredible art that is being made out there.

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Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Matthew McConville

"Excavation"  oil on panel  12" x 14"  2007

"Iceberg"  oil on panel  16" x 20"  2007

"Ramp"  oil on panel  16" x 22"  2007

"Un-natural Bridge" oil on panel  16" x 14"  2007

"Waterfall"  oil on panel  16" x 24"  2007
Matthew McConville's work ranges over a variety of themes and subject matter from straightforward landscape painting to allegorical figurative works, to installation projects and digital drawings of hair (?!). All of it is thoughtfully engaged in historical perspectives and his statements concerning each of his projects is well worth reading (something I don't get to say very often about artist statements). But what initially caught and held my attention was these depictions of imaginary large scale earth art. He describes his approach as combining the visual style of the Hudson River school of painters (Church, Cole, etc.,) and the Earthwork artists of the mid to late 20th century. His short essay on these called "Earthworks 2007" is especially good. Interestingly, given the monumentality of both the images and the historical references, the actual paintings are quite small, only 16" tall or smaller, which in the real world creates a a very different interaction with the viewer. While I think the paintings would work wonderfully very large, there's something both intriguing and playful (dare I say, ironic?) in this more intimate and personal scale. The artist is asking us to imagine the monumental instead of trying to convey it directly. Most of us will never see Spiral Jetty by Robert Smithson (due to it being constructed during a time of drought it has spent most of it's history since 1970 submerged) or other famous earth art projects. We have to be content with documentation and our imaginations. In the same way, I have never seen most of the art I post on this blog. Mr. McConville seems to be saying (comfortingly I think) that, while this is certainly not be the same, it may be enough.
You can look through the rest of his work on his website: matthewmcconville.com
I stumbled across his work here: www.levygallery.com

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