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“All Alive At Once”

Hogar Collection
03-01-07

Is painting about reflecting nature, being truthful to the visual appearance of things, holding up a mirrored to the world? Or, is it about the materials, the elements of composition, color, line, form, brushstroke, and paint? Matthew Johnson, it seems, gets his kicks by playing the former off against the latter. Johnson builds pictures of stacked boxes and sculptural assemblages of thick tubes and cross-members that read simultaneously as structural supports and painterly gesture. Some pictures are cluttered still-lives on stark beige fields that conjure Post-Modern de Chiricos, others resemble self perpetuating goof-ball machines with transitional passages from total abstraction to sharp representation and eliciting the question: just when does a slash of paint stop being a blob of pigment and start being a nose?

—James Kalm
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