7 May - 29 May, 2011
Nocturne opens on the evening of May 6 during First Fridays at the monthly UBS 12 x 12: New Artists/New Work at the Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA), Chicago, and runs through May 29, 2011.
Two paintings frame Matthew Metzger’s UBS 12 x 12 show, Nocturne: One depicts an image of the cover of the 1986 self-titled album by the R&B group Surface. The other is an image of a rubber band resting on a bare panel. The panel’s dimension is determined by the extent to which the rubber band stretches before breaking. Hanging between these works are ten paintings that together display one full color spectrum found in a standard packet of construction paper. Together, this installation of new work collectively examines the relationship between form and color. Though this is a longstanding subject of painting, Metzger’s intervention here asks: Does color have a unique form? Metzger probes the ways in which color influences our understanding of materials and forms, reflects on how it evades easy description in language, and traces the shifting cultural implications color has on perception. The works here serve as a nexus for teasing out certain traits that merely hint at a form for color itself, if only tangentially.
All the paintings in Nocturne replicate the dimension, color, and finish of each of the objects they represent. In every painting the difference between the object of study and its painted form is blurred and their distinct separate identities entangled. Metzger thereby unites two opposing artistic traditions: 16th-century Dutch still-life painting and 20th-century Minimal and Conceptual art. Where the earlier tradition sought to comment on reality through a heightened sense of illusion, the latter aimed to remove all illusion in favor of a heightened sense of reality. Brought together, these traditions foreground new possibilities for Abstract painting, a primary subject of Metzger’s practice.
Metzger (b. 1978) received his BFA from the University of North Texas in 2004 and his MFA from the University of Chicago in 2009. He is an alumni of the Skowhegan School of Sculpture and Painting Artist Residency Program.