LONG ISLAND CITY, NY.- MoMA PS1
presents the first solo museum exhibition of Matt Connors (American, b. 1973), comprising twenty-three paintings from 2008 to the present, including five new works. Organized by MoMA PS1 Curator Peter Eleey, Matt Connors: Impressionism is on view on the 3rd floor of MoMA PS1 through December 31, 2012.
The paintings of Matt Connors arent catchy, but they rattle around the brain like a Top-40 track sung last night in a karaoke barfamiliar, slightly off-key, and delivered in an honest voice. Like the singer, Connors offers profane and intimate tributes, inserting his artistic voice alongside and among the popular melodies of the modernist pictorial tradition.
This is the thrill of the vocals of his Vocals (2010), which at first appears to be little more than squiggles. On closer examination, an endearing two-step reveals itself: a collection of doodles the artist has dashed off, and then another set of adjacent lines he has carefully painted to emulate them. It is a painting singing along to its own tune, and an allegory of the troubled yet carefree state of contemporary abstract painting. The piece also hints at the attitude of Connors broader practice. His paintings regularly put quotation marks around themselves: a rendition of a logocovered plastic bag, for example, is accompanied by a cartooned version of that very painting elsewhere in the exhibition, which includes a range of work created over the past half-decade.
A Connors painting often points elsewhere in form, process or content, but it does so without clear direction. His canvases absorb influences from a disparate and evolving roster of artists in the jukebox of art history (as well as writers, filmmakers and musicians) to whom he looks for inspiration, and this porosity is likewise reflected in the formalities of his method. Connors paintings are remarkable for the apparent thinness of their surfaces; paint usually ends up in them, rather than on them. He may make rubbings from other paintings, or use one wet painting to imprint another. His work takes and offers impressions not only of its immediate surroundings, but also of things more distant in time and space.
For all that his work draws upon, Connors paintings are notably self-sufficient when considered together. Like members of a large, extended family, they bear traces of one another, and sometimes prop up or lean into each other.
Matt Connors has been the subject of a solo exhibition at Kunsthalle Düsseldorf; and with Fergus Feehily, a two-person show at the Dallas Museum of Art. He will be included in the upcoming exhibition, Painter, Painter at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis. In 2012, Matt Connors received the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship Grant and the Belgacom Art Prize. He received his BFA in 1995 from Bennington College and his MFA in 2006 from Yale University School of Art. Connors grew up in San Diego; he lives and works in New York.