Thursday, April 21, 2011

Multiverse: In the Plywood Forest of Matt Jones

The question remains as to how and when an image emerges from its template to become emblematic of generations or movements. Further, how are archetypes constituted: particularly when visuals such as Campbell’s soup cans, bulls-eye targets, and André the Giant are recognizable across various strata of society. Matt Jones, in “Multiverse”—his lively solo show up at Freight+Volume through May 7th—raises these and other questions. The Black Flag logo—a simple affair of four vertical black bars rendered by Raymond Pettibon in the late 1970s—especially resonates with Jones. He sees this emblem as having to help spawn a punk and hard-core consciousness.

In Multiverse’s plywood cutouts and large-scale works, Jones incorporates images rendered with paint, photographs, photocopies, scans, laminates, and craft glue upon which further layers are introduced—secondarily drawn with markers. What results is a bold challenge to the viewer’s understanding of memory and recognition in a digital and internet-addled technology.

In utilizing techniques of image remove and repetition, Jones shares much with his peers Wade Guyton, Kelly Walker and Josh Smith. However, Jones goes a step further, his obsessive vision, Buddhist-inspired focus, and three-dimensional product construct resulting in an in-your-face dichotomy swimming between indelible and fleeting, loud and meditatively quiet, and invigorating and mind-numbing.

Beyond immediate visual impressions, Jones draws upon various technological and cross-cultural concepts in his work: Stephen Hawking’s exploration of space, time, parallel universes and the Big Bang Theory; comic book X-Men’s Wolverine; and Henry Rollins and the graphic expression of anarchy. Additionally he invokes a number of mass culture phenomena: The 1984 film Ghostbusters, Star Wars, Mischievous Spirits, Karma Chargers and Energy Reflectors. Strong elements of chance and randomness, magic, control, and organized chaos mix in this “soup.” According to the artist, energy resulted from the desire to get to paint’s possibilities without using it in the final object.

Certain inventions of this milieu have captured his imagination from an early age: “When I was a kid I was obsessed with Ghostbusters. I salute Bill Murray for providing a model of what a man can be. A lot of my spare time was spent making a number of ghost-busting devices, proton packs, PKE meters, and ghost traps. They of course didn’t actually catch ghosts, read paranormal energy, or fire energy from nuclear accelerators. You couldn’t tell me that, not really. I caught ghosts in the woods and cornfields behind my house for hours and hours. It only took my belief in the imaginary technology working for it to be true.”

Presently, Jones has achieved a vibrant realization of these childhood musings in this vibrant installation. Freight+Volume invites the viewer to experience Matt Jones’ “Multiverse” firsthand, meander through his free-standing plywood forest, bathe in the electric energy emanating from his optic stripes and karma chargers, and view his accompanying John Baldessari-inspired video “Every Expression Possible (Wolverine Black Flag).”

The artist lives and works in Brooklyn, NY. He’s participated in numerous group and solo exhibitions in New York and internationally. [In 2008 Jones formed The Atlantic Conference Press] to publish artist books and collaborations. He received a BFA in painting from the Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art and has studied at the Yale/Norfolk Summer School of Painting.

Matt Jones: “Multiverse”
through May 7, 2011
530 West 24th Street NYC 10001

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