Tucked inside the first floor of our office building rests the 100 Pearl Street Gallery. The venue provides a great space for local artists in the community to showcase their work, usually displaying about 5 artists a year. Last Thursday (Apr 11), the Arts Council celebrated the opening of our newest exhibition “Interface: New Work,” Paintings by Matthew Best with the artist himself.
Amidst the wine, delicious hors d’oeuvres provided by The Kitchen @ Billings Forge and fine company, the reception presented me with the great opportunity to analyze and appreciate the intricacies of Matthew’s work. Let’s be clear – I am no art critic. Reading Evan Johnson’s construction of Matthew’s work in his interview introduction on our blog a few weeks ago only further solidified that notion in my mind. Regardless of my lack of knowledge of art history and theory, Matthew’s colorful and engaging shapes still intrigued me to learn more about his work.
So. What’s a person to do when he or she hasn’t a clear place to start interpreting a piece of art but still wants to give it a shot? Luckily, the answer came to me in the form of a large poster containing the artist’s statement, where I learned that Matthew’s paintings are heavily influenced by his study of yoga and the body. Viewing his work in that vein, I focused on how the concept of balance inter-played with the positioning of the colors and the usage of the shapes. From there, I could see how both forces worked to keep the pieces in harmony together, relying on each other to somehow keep the painting from metaphorically falling over.
Moments away from what I’m sure would have been an artistic epiphany, my brain’s strain was relieved by Cathy Malloy, the Arts Council’s CEO, stealing the floor with Matthew on her right to thank everyone for coming to support Matthew and the Gallery itself. Reluctantly passing the floor to Matthew shortly thereafter, Matthew repeated Cathy’s warm sentiments of appreciation for everyone’s attendance and encouragement.
To learn more about Matthew’s work, check out www.LetsGoArts.org/Gallery, his Twitter (@Matthew_Best) and his Tumblr pages: http://newparkave.tumblr.com/ http://matthewjbest.tumblr.com. Also, make sure to stop by the Gallery and see the exhibition before June 1st. I promise the artist’s statement will still be there to inspire many musings about Matthew’s dense, impressive paintings.