Matthew Craven, ‘VALLEY’, 2013, TWO x TWO

estimated retail value: $7,500

New York-based artist Matthew Craven’s work embraces historiographical discrepancies by mixing archaeological remains with images from lost cultures. In Valley, Craven creates a colorful and vibrant backdrop with Mesoamerican-like patterns akin to 20th Century art movements such as Op Art or Geometric Abstraction.

New York-based artist Matthew Craven’s work embraces historiographical discrepancies by mixing archaeological remains with images from lost cultures. His crypto-historical collages and drawings highlight a new connection to our past through a unique aesthetic. In Valley, Craven creates a colorful and vibrant backdrop with Mesoamerican-like patterns akin to 20th Century art movements such as Op Art or Geometric Abstraction. He then collages found pages of what may be an Olmec colossal head and a page with a black rectangle analogous to Kazimir Malevich’s Black Square, making a lively, yet abstruse, connection between ancient Mesoamerican civilizations and avant-garde European art.

gallery website: www.dcktcontemporary.com

About Matthew Craven

Matthew Craven challenges the sweeping narratives of American history textbooks, appropriating images of historical figures and sites and defacing or reconfiguring them within new aesthetic compositions. In combinations of illustration, collage, and painting, a march of tribal chieftains, Masonic leaders, and American generals and presidents appears in his images, their faces blotted out or colonized by Craven’s trademark geometric patterns. With his surreal mash-ups of historical references composed on antiquated paper, Craven creates his own pared-down symbols and mythologies. Many of Craven’s images are ambiguous, resisting cohesive narratives or easy interpretation; the artist has said that his compositions are not dictated by any political agenda but are based solely on aesthetic consideration.

American, b. 1981