Justin Matherly Readjusting my commitment to a greater legibility, or substance thinking and substance extended October 30 - December 18 2011
Bureau is pleased to announce a solo show by Justin Matherly featuring new large-scale sculpture and monoprint work. The exhibition will run from October 30 through December 18 at 127 Henry Street, between Rutgers and Pike streets, in the Lower East Side.
Justin Matherly has become recognized for his sculptures utilizing the ubiquitous materials of concrete and metal ambulatory devices such as walkers and medical stools. The exhibition will feature new cast concrete statues as well as sumptuous new monoprints and shows the artist delving, sculpturally, into modern interpretations of classicism and its decay.
A large sculpture based on the much-weathered Pasquino from Rome is the central work in the show surrounded by smaller pieces based on the three existing versions for the missing right arm of the Vatican's Laocoön. As with his interest in the Belvedere Torso, his chosen sources are celebrated examples of the apex of Greek idealism and a virtuosic dynamism. However, without filling the blanks of what these original forms depicted, the modern viewer is left with an intensely mutilated and degraded form; in many cases we are left with decapitated, amputated bodies.
Providing a sturdy support for concrete sculpture, the walker base also suggests the inevitable decay of our own bodies; however Matherly also points to a potential liberation via the mechanical prosthesis. Invoking a scene from Dziga Vertov's The Man with a Movie Camera when speaking of his own work, Matherly describes the moment when the camera – on its own crutch-like tripod legs – walks into the picture and has a look around for itself. The potential for the modern subject to embrace its own viewpoint, and to find an exalted liberty in its own bondage and limits can be seen in Matherly's work.
The sculptures are methodically built up from sculpted foam postivies which are then cast with PVC tree-watering sacks called gator bags and, more recently, foam and rubber negatives for fine detailing. After pouring the concrete a subtractive process occurs in a kind of unearthing of the new sculpture. While Matherly's hand is remarkably skilled, he shows a desire to yield to the materiality, viscosity and heft of his medium. Similarly, with his monoprint work there is a building up: of subject matter, filters, textures and color-separated coats of printed ink. More recently Matherly has introduced a subtractive processes into the works on paper as well: layering motifs of abstract shapes beneath found imagery from classical ruins. The ghostly forms of high modernism cast a faint day-glow shadow across vast photographic scenes of crumbled empires.
Justin Matherly (b. 1972, West Islip, NY) lives and works in Brooklyn. He received his BA in 2002 from the Univ. of Pennsylvania while studying at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and received his MFA from Hunter College in 2007. This is the artist's third show at this location, having exhibited twice with Dispatch in 2007 and 2009. He has exhibited widely in New York at the Sculpture Center's In Practice Projects, Bob Nickas's 2010 White Columns Annual, Team Gallery, Paula Cooper Gallery and Gavin Brown's Enterprise, New York. He has an upcoming project with the Public Art Fund for 2012 in Manhattan.