Linda Warren Projects is proud to present Matthew Woodward’s third solo exhibition “Take Care of Yourself,” featuring large-scale works and installations in both Gallery X and Gallery Y. Woodward’s new body of work challenges and explores the boundaries of “drawing” while exposing the borrowed history of architectural motifs. By employing methods such as transparency, repetition, and contrasts, Woodward’s drawings organically become artificial and monumental. Woodward’s masterful draftsmanship and mark making continues, but is ever more dexterous and rhythmic. Constructed and subverted in a spectrum of styles – the conventional 2-D, the sculptural relief, and installation-based – all aim to achieve total immersion. Hung like walls and corridors, the viewer can stroll through and around the drawings, allowing them to activate and experience the space.
By tapping into a catalogue of architectural emblems and sources that evoke colonialism, nationalism, and a long tradition of historical amnesia – which seems, especially of late, to have rounded back on itself to revive a hollow endorsement of empire – Woodward pursues issues of identity latent in our built-environment, like a dream lost in our bodies. Using the handmade, the manmade, and the machine to speak of repetition, memory, and industrialization, Woodward harks back to the era from which his subject matter emerged, the architectural ready-made ornamental imagery of the Beaux Arts Movement. This time period in American architectural history that divided Romanticism and Industrialism, contributed to the look of a wealth and class that could be authentic but also no more than a façade. The borrowed nature of this aesthetic, which permeates our cityscape still today, begs the question: is this the only means we have to constructing a national identity? Are we free to reject or reprogram our cultural iconography? May we rehab the forces that have shaped our national discourse? And does tearing out those forces necessitate a tearing out of something from ourselves?
Eroded and fragile, scarred and deeply wounded, Woodward’s work marries its formal presence to a historical and emotional narrative equally complex, layered and paradoxical. Embodying a range of physical dichotomies, the works are at once seductively intimate yet grandiose and overwhelming, mysteriously illusive yet precisely hyper realistic, excruciatingly delicate yet wildly aggressive, raw and primal. Emotionally, the works bellow of loss and pain, the type of damaged beauty that is inherently an inextricable element in life. One is left with the sense that perseverance amounts to victory. And there is a great strength in simply enduring.
Matthew Woodward received his BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2005, and went on to earn his MFA in Drawing from the New York Academy of Art in 2007. Matthew Woodward’s drawings and installations have appeared in venues throughout the United States and abroad including the Chicago Cultural Center, The University Club of Chicago, the Union League Club of Chicago, the Elmhurst Art Museum, Janine Bean Gallery in Berlin, and The Drawing Room in Budapest, amongst many others. His work is included in corporate and private collections across the United States, including Kirkland & Ellis in Houston, Texas, The Ritz-Carlton, The Collection of Ralph Privoznik, the Eden Rock Hotel, St. Francis University, and the City of Urbana collection in Illinois. The artist attended residencies at the Edward F. Albee Foundation in New York, Urbanfuse Residency in Berlin, Germany, and SLAC Residency in Chicago, Illinois. In addition, he has taught and lectured at universities throughout the country. Woodward currently lives and works in New York City.