MATTHEW STONE, UNCONDITIONAL LOVE

FullBodiedMindUnconditional Love

March 6th – April 6th, 2014

OPENING: Thursday March 6th from 6-9PM

The Hole is proud to present the third solo exhibition by London-based artist Matthew Stone. Using the entire gallery space, Stone will debut a new series of abstract artworks in the main rooms, and perform and display a new performance based piece in Gallery 3. The performance will take place at the opening March 6th and the artworks therein created will be on view in Gallery 3 following its completion.

For his third solo exhibition Matthew continues to innovate in both concept and medium. His first exhibition Optimism as Cultural Rebellion in 2011 featured his photographs of entangled nude bodies and billowing colored fabrics printed onto wood, installed as wall-works and geometric hinged sculptures that spilled across the gallery floor.

For the second show last November, Stone exhibited large-format wooden panels engraved with imagery derived from photographs of dancers taken in the pitch black and lit only with nightclub lasers. The hand-manipulated laser-beams were captured and accumulated via long exposures, resulting in spectacular and effervescent light-drawings. This mark-making process was defined by both artist and subject’s movements, indicating their collaborative nature. The laser-lit photographs were then engraved into black painted wood, forming a second kind of ethereal and process-led image. Comprising photography, drawing, dance, performance and computer controlled engraving, these works were installed in a black, dimly lit and chapel-like room that was programmed to burst periodically into a laser-strewn, silent dance-floor.

Unconditional Love introduces lush digitally printed paintings. Stone hand-paints on glass and photographs the resulting compositions. These high-resolution details are then digitally intensified and retouched to remove subjective imperfections, such as dust and hairs. The paint is then printed onto veneered wooden panels, sheet acrylic and mirror. The resulting works employ photography and digital printing as part of an extended artistic process that furthers the visual and practical potential of paint, rather than as an objective or documentarian means to an end.

Almost offensively juicy and often steeped in visceral colour, the works upturn the holy status of art history’s worship of “paint handling” and “brushwork” as untouchable cosmic flesh, whilst simultaneously and sincerely reasserting its living legacy of visceral and emotionally manipulative power. Stone’s paint gestures mimic the movements and colors of Renaissance painting and sculpture and suggest the punchy thrusts and flair of dancers in motion or joyful movement in general. Their genuine love of color and movement draw the viewer in and celebrate the eye and its joys in the realm of paint. While ostensibly resembling a scaling of the “masterful” brushwork of Motherwell or de Kooning, the final works, perhaps like Lichtenstein’s spoofy quoted strokes, live as flattened snapshots of captured and ephemeral moments. They are digitally composed gestures, flat and practically inert but imaginatively ecstatic. The turns of the wrist that twist the paint into three dimensionality suggest the contrapposto twirl of a dancer or the circular helix of a Michelangelo marble, while the gush of color is un-gendered orgasm.

In Gallery 3 Stone will enact Muse Control a new performance piece comprised of a dancer and a video camera operator. Performed amidst a bespoke sound-piece of Stone’s creation, the dancer will be clad in black in the all-black gallery so the viewer’s focus is pulled to the camera operator. The Steadicam, a counter-weighted rig, ensures that the camera floats fluidly around the body of the operator resulting in ultra-smooth footage and body space for dynamic movement of the operator. Closely following the dancers, the camera operator, now as an unconscious dancer himself, creates an incidental choreography whose movements are shaped by the creative and aesthetic decisions involved in image-making, and as a filtered response to the call of the professional dancer’s moves.  The performance purposely subverts the hierarchy of the traditional creative relationship between image-maker and model or muse, exposing the subtle social negotiations of collaboration crucial to all of Stone’s work.

For more information on the exhibition and available works or press requests please email krysta@theholenyc.com

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