In our fourth solo show from British artist Matthew Stone, we are proud to present over twenty new works filling all galleries here on the Bowery for NEOPHYTE.
"Newly planted"; the evocative etymology of the word neophyte, means someone entirely new to a subject, skill or calling. With late spring finally unfolding in the city this exhibition will start on a sunny day in May and simmer on through the end of June.
By photographing paint strokes made on glass and working in various 3D software, the artist is able to sculpt bodies together in three dimensions using layers of these painted marks. Stone's figures inhabit a shared world; defined by a grey infinity floor, proliferating petals of paint and a raw linen void as backdrop. This realm is just on the heroic side of human scale, obeys the laws of light and gravity, and is the stage for complex bodies and paint interacting. In this mode of painting, brushstrokes respond as objects within their virtual environment rather than purely as illusionistic marks existing to suggest space.
The figures maintain a consistent scale across different sized canvases. All works are hung at a height that aligns with the same grey floor, making the show a series of windows into a universe that exists beyond the walls of the gallery. Some of the works capture different angles of the same figures allowing the viewer to discover and compare different vantage points.
Besides exploring the interaction of two and three dimensionality, where painted strokes become sculpture that then becomes a stretched painting on linen, one key territory this work explores is visibly the technological. Putting aside the painstaking way these pieces are made, what do the technological tools actually open up to artistic expression here, to figure painting?
Stone has always believed there to be a spiritual component to art making and the entry point to these new springtime works would be plant-consciousness, technology and the body. Instead of the works trying to teach the viewer, instead of my explaining the works in the press release, this show is approached by artist, gallerist and hopefully viewer from the position of a creative strategy "newly planted."
The artist has installed 500 hand painted dropper-bottles containing plant-medicine in the form of four flower essences. They will be made available for free to visitors. Flower essences are traditionally used for emotional healing. Two of the essences were made in London and used personally by the artist. The others were made in New York from wild flowers in Tompkins Square Park.
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