Installation view, West gallery
Matthew Anthony Stokes
SUN MAN PAINT Folio ‘10-‘11
June 11 - July 16, 2011
Opening Reception: June 11th, 5-8pm
Gallery KM is very pleased to present SUN MAN PAINT Folio ’10-’11, our first show of work by Los Angeles-based artist Matthew Anthony Stokes. The show consists of abstract works on canvas and paper, and will be held in conjunction with the publication of SUMP, a limited edition artist book of 109 black and white prints. The gallery will hold a reception for the artist on Saturday June 11, from 5 – 8pm.
In SUN MAN PAINT Folio ’10-’11, Matthew Anthony Stokes offers us a series of dynamic black and white pieces in which ink and paint are formed on paper, card and canvas with a choreography of movement that is unruly, decisive, and replete with surprising grace. Though the work is primarily non-representational, we find moments of natural likeness—a wing, a branch, a form that might be human—mixed with stroke work that effects violence, urgency, beauty, and the ideal of a different kind of nature.
Created in just over a year’s time, this body of Stokes’ work carries and communicates speed while instilling something closer to meditative stillness in the viewer. We get the sense that Stokes applies pigment quickly in order to capture and relay a temporal interval before it passes, as if the runs of paint and rough markings—often created with feathers and hardened brushes—are simply byproducts of his desire to catch up with that which he captures on the surface.
Stokes frequently layers his marks in a manner that suggests form without illustrating it overtly, and in so doing creates a shifting of visually recognizable references that, when combined with his limited color palette, provides something akin to an observational template for the viewer. The pieces are direct in their impact, and yet the more convinced we become that what we are seeing is the record of a specific moment in time, the more we approach the realization that the work demands interpretive flexibility.
Despite gestural qualities that might indicate a primacy of emotion, these pieces are not inwardly focused. Instead, they represent a deliberation on the natural world as Stokes sees it; a world not discursively or experientially distinct from that of humanity, and one in which we are unified in our experience of temporal enigma. With graphic and expressive exploration, Stokes’ work demonstrates that a contemporary sensibility is more than compatible with the effective communication of mystery.
Born in Kent, England, Matthew Anthony Stokes moved to Paris to study dramaturgical French mime with Étienne Decroux and then spent over a decade living and working in Belgium as the director of the collaborative performance group, Maquette. Exhibitions of Maquette’s costumes and films took place throughout England and Belgium, most notably as the centerpiece to Jan Hoet’s De Rode Port exhibition, the show that marked the inauguration of the Museum of Modern Art, Ghent (now S.M.A.K). Maquette’s costumes were also featured at DEWEER Gallery and Dokumenta ‘97, and assemblages of the film work were screened at the Brussels Festival of Art, as well as the Anthony d’Offay Gallery, the Institute of Contemporary Arts and the National Film Theater in London. Stokes received a diploma in architecture from the University of Cambridge. This is his first exhibition of solo work.