Re-Forming the Narrative – Matt Devine
20th and 21st century art is distinguishable from earlier periods by a newfound experimentation in industrial processes and materials, greater freedom in subject matter as well as growth in abstract, concept-based art. The Industrial Revolution spurred what we have come to define as globalization, transforming the world and consequently, the very definition of art. Throughout the last century art movements have risen and gone, both building upon and rejecting what came before. The broadening definition of sculpture has grown with the introduction of found object elements, bricolage, as well as Pop Art, which offered new venues for social commentary.
In terms of lasting impact, the tenants of Minimalism are both essential and inherent to the major aspects of contemporary sculpture. Arising in the mid 1960s and early 1970s, the movement was primarily rooted in American art, encompassing both the visual arts as well as music, and interpreted as a reaction against Abstract Expressionism. Reduction of formal elements and an emphasis on material were the focus, creating a perceptual shift in subjectivity when viewing the works. Scale played a large role as well. In terms of traditional art, scale was a tool for monumentality, of creating a literal sense of something being larger than life when viewing a work of the figurative genre (especially when applied to a heroic or religious subject matter). Later, scale was used by Modern artists in ensnaring a sense of presence, creating a dialogue between object and body especially in terms of large, abstract paintings such as those by Barnett Newman highlighted such relationships. Minimalist sculptors such as Donald Judd and Richard Serra utilized the full potential of the realm of industrial materials by creating works that transformed the viewing experience into experiential theatre through sheer, grandiose scale and impact.
In Matt Devine’s work, the history of both the medium as well as the artist’s own interpretation of form and material are present. Utilizing industrial materials, Devine crafts juxtapositions of form and function, fragility and endurance.
Intuitive yet process-based, Devine’s forms borrow from nature in a sharp contrast to the industrial nature of the material itself. The works can be seen as a study in contrasts, in bold formal statements and the gentle balance of shadow and light.
In another break from tradition, Devine’s recent works look beyond established means of working with industrial materials by exploring big ideas on a small scale. In a sense, Devine both continues and re-defines the path blazed by Minimalist sculptors by utilizing industrial steel and aluminum in a similar manner to the more precious bronze or marble. The impact of the works is undeterred by scale in a fresh defining take on the nature of the medium itself.
Matt Devine is represented at JoAnne Artman Gallery || www.joanneartmangallery.com | 949.510.5481