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For Immediate Release:
Matthew Metzger
Three Specific Works

8 January – 19 February 2011
Reception: Saturday, 8 January, 6–8pm

Tony Wight Gallery is pleased to present Three Specific Works, an exhibition of new paintings by Matthew Metzger.

The three paintings in this exhibition explore the dependency and exchangeability within both Figuration and Abstraction as a method with which to portray the liminal and fleeting qualities that compose aspects of being. Utilizing many of Abstraction’s familiar tropes – flatness, separate and pure color planes, and “pulled” paint – Metzger alternately depicts a worn Home Depot carrying cart, a tattered walking cane, and a scuba “diver down” emblem as signs through which to consider the possibilities that open at the breach of one’s capabilities, the very moments when the body forgoes
control and accepts the weight of exterior forces.

In Anthropometry, Untitled, Metzger renders countless scuffs and abrasions that have collectively accumulated on the surface of a Home Depot carrying cart. These marks that remain become traces of one’s inability to lift and transport materials that are both produced for and within a “do-it-yourself” context. Here, notions of originality and authorship are submissive to the illusory qualities of paint, while the fatigued surface of the cart points to the submission of bodies under the weight of commodities. Metzger’s Performance Corridor features a walking cane positioned vertically against a black and white abstraction. The height of the painting is limited to the maximum height of the cane rendered, as its width embodies that of Bruce Nauman’s Performance Corridor, originally constructed for his work Walking With Contrapposto. As Nauman sways slowly up and down his corridor, he is forced to halt at each bodily shift in order to retain the frozen stance of Greek and Roman sculpture. A
pause that becomes crucial in witnessing the juncture between one’s historical lineage and the present. For Metzger, that pause is removed as the cane allows one to maintain the contrapposto stance while in the process of movement. The painting, The Dead Man (The Dead Toreador), capitalizes on the scuba “diver down” emblem’s normative role as an alert for boaters to take notice of the waters occupied by a diver. By recontextualizing the emblem as a “geometric abstraction” situated within the literal frame of Edouard Manet’s The Dead Man (The Dead Toreador), Metzger calls
attention to the problem of occupancy, regarding both the duration in which one inhabits a space, as well as the contexts in which one chooses to paint. That being said, the notion of occupancy becomes linked to the “memento mori”, a reminder of the temporary nature of existence.

Matthew Metzger (American, b. 1978) received his MFA from the University of Chicago in 2009 and attended the Skowhegan School of Sculpture and Painting. Upcoming solo exhibitions include projects at The Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago and Arratia Beer in Berlin.

The exhibition will be on view from 8 January – 19 February 2011
Gallery hours are Tuesday through Saturday 11 am – 5 pm.
For information please call John Henderson at 312.492.7261 or email at

Three Specific Works