Through His Eyes: Concrete Jungle Featuring John “CRASH” Matos

Joanne Artman Gallery
Dec 6, 2018 8:38PM

In his current exhibition Concrete Jungle, at JoAnne Artman Gallery-New York, John “CRASH” Matos continues his exploration of form and shape with his instantly recognizable fusion of pop iconography and graffiti. Barely contained to the planes of his canvas, CRASH incorporates dark outlines, bright colors, and figurative elements to serve as a bridge between street art and gallery space.

The Inkspots, Spray Paint on Canvas, 72” x 72”

Incorporating symbols such as arrows, lens flare, bubble letters, and explosive forms to his compositions, CRASH’s ocular components remain his most identifiable artistic signature. Interested in conveying emotion and the communicative ability of eyes, women’s eyes are a continuous motif found throughout his paintings and murals. Representing clairvoyance, omniscience, secrecy, and mystery, CRASH’s representation of eyes transforms his compositions from being the object of gaze to becoming possessive of gaze and looking back at its audience.

Pocket Pinup, Spray Paint on Canvas, 40” x 30”

Inspired by comic books, Roy Lichtenstein, Andy Warhol, and anime, his colorful canvases play with his diverse influences. Appearing in endless variations, CRASH experiments with different colors, placement of lens flares, and stylistic approach to reinvent his time-honored eye motif.

While his signature eye is the colored iris with long lashes as seen in The Inkspots, CRASH shows new iterations of the familiar ocular theme. Delving into his appreciation for the artistry of anime character design, CRASH playfully puts his spin on anime illustration. Including mouths and noses to complete the figure’s face, rather than providing a singular, mysterious eye, CRASH removes the white of the eye and color from the iris, transforming his familiar motif into a new, gestural interpretation of the eye and facial features.

Concrete Jungle, Spray Paint on Canvas, 72” x 108”

Similarly, CRASH’s untitled round panels explore the idea of an eye’s structure without recognizable color and defined shape. Rather, the eyelid, iris, and pupil are subtly included, blending in with the other lines and dynamic, horizontal movements of the composition.

Untitled 6, Spray Paint on Panel, 18” x 18”

Remaining true to his masterful integration of pop art, pop culture influences, and his accomplished background in street art, CRASH continues to develop on the narratives and imagery of his compositions. Inviting viewers to enjoy the impartial quality that art has to offer, he visually reminds us that great art can be found where you least expect, whether it be on the side of a train or displayed inside an art gallery.

Joanne Artman Gallery