Opening Reception: Wednesday, November 27, 2019
Dates: November 25 – December 8, 2019
Space Gallery St Barth is proud to christen our 2019-2020 season with an exhibition of new paintings and collages by Victor Matthews. In this body of work, Matthews pays homage to the spirit of St Barth and the creative debt that he owes to the island. Matthews’s singularly meditative and enticing representations of the island’s landscapes, flora, and fauna celebrate St Barth as both subject and muse. For an artist whose oeuvre represents a longing to escape the chaos of modernity, the unmatched beauty and quiet seclusion of our small island embodies the promise of utopia.
A visitor to the island for thirty years, the artist continues to be inspired by St Barth's light and energy. Calling him back year after year, the island informs his work and enters into his imagination. The rolling hills and winding roads of St Barth have made a map in the artist's mind of memories and experiences. Familiar territory and imagery are celebrated on Matthews's canvases in his signature geometric white style. Well known for his cityscapes of his native New York City, the delicate elegance of the paintings in "Utopia" call to mind the flora and fauna of this island utopia. Speaking about his work, Matthews explains, “Somewhere there's an inner feeling of serenity and peace among all living things; from humans, to insects, to mammals, to earth. The connection is there all around us.”
Throughout the 1980s and 90s, Victor Matthews worked alongside his friends and contemporaries Keith Haring, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Donald Baechler, Ouattara Watts, and under the tutelage of lifelong mentors Francesco Clemente and Brice Martin to develop his signature style. With perfectly choreographed chaos, Matthews’s paintings and drawings represent a sophisticated hybrid of traditional studio painting and street art techniques. The artist’s images teem with motion, abstraction, and suggestions of hierarchy – much like life.