Art Nerd New York | Los Angeles


One gallery show opening this weekend that I’m looking forward to is Four False Starts by Matthew Porter @ M+B Gallery. As you read on its a new body of work highlighting Porter’s desire to get back to the “pleasures of image-making” which I’m sure will be VERY visually pleasing in person. The “Dynamic of the Dark” print is stunning – sure to be a great show! xL

Matthew Porter Dynamic of the Dark, 2015 image courtesy M+B Gallery

Matthew Porter
Dynamic of the Dark, 2015 image courtesy M+B Gallery

JANUARY 23 – MARCH 12, 2016


Porter chose to create pictures that get back to the basic pleasures of image-making and viewing, especially in a climate where the recent focus has been towards the process-oriented and conceptual. Incorporating influences from various art and design movements of the 19th and 20th centuries, along with employing classic photographic tropes—the still life, landscape and portrait—Porter has made masterfully constructed pictures where every inch is hyper-managed and formal concerns are considered. Porter presents the exhibition with four seemingly disparate bodies of work, but each “style” reinforces and borrows from the other, creating a common thread throughout them all.


Porter was recently included in Charlotte Cotton’s seminal book on contemporary photography, Photography is Magic, his last solo exhibition was an ARTFORUM “Critics’ Pick” and his work has recently been added to the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Cincinnati Museum of Contemporary Art and the Trevor Traina Collection ;-D ….

Words & Images >> thanks to Jonlin Wung <<


More via M+B


Installed in the gallery are sixteen framed photographs—four sets of four pictures. Each of the sets is composed of work from a different series: a continued exploration of multiple exposure still lifes, black and white still lifes made in Porter’s father’s sculpture studio in Maine, a model wearing a dazzle camouflage suit that Porter commissioned, and pictures made at the fabrication facility Polich Tallix in upstate New York. Together, they form a mosaic of inquiry and interest, overlapping at times, and bonded by their pictorial similarities.

Matthew Porter, Rikitea Island, 2015

Matthew Porter, Rikitea Island, 2015


The exhibition takes its title from an artist profile written by Janet Malcolm, Forty-one False Starts. Each of the “starts” serves as an introduction, rebooting every few paragraphs, yet the stuttered essay coheres into a full portrait of an otherwise elusive subject. The piece has no ending, so the question is how to begin—a redundant, tidal process that washes new ideas over old ones.

Matthew Porter, Shoreline, 2015

Matthew Porter, Shoreline, 2015


Bauhaus faculty and students had a playful tendency to photograph one another wearing their respective designs. I’m particularly interested in Erich Consemüller’s pictures of a woman seated in a Breuer chair. It’s unknown exactly who the model was—she wears a mask designed for a theatre production, and her clothes are products of the school’s textile workshops. A mask, a dress, and a chair—all items that the school had given a modern facelift to, or to quote Buckminster Fuller’s Bronx cheer for the Bauhaus, had merely modernized “the superficies of end products…” That kind of design, he was arguing, was all surface, a purely aesthetic upgrade that left core concepts unchanged.

Matthew Porter, Polich Tallix #3, 2015

Matthew Porter, Polich Tallix #3, 2015


The Polich Tallix facility is the size of an airplane hangar, airy and bright inside, but as soon as I set up in one of the fabrication bays, I’m in someone’s way. Haste is inimical to large-format photography, but it’s only a few hours before they close for the weekend, so I’m working quickly. Against the back wall, metal is being heated in buckets over blue flames. People tend to the fire wearing silver suits, their faces hidden behind black visors. Silver people on the shoreline, let us be… I find a surface I like and start gathering metal bits to make a still life—copper rods, drill bits, scrap metal, all of it used by the shop in the fabrication of large sculptural works. This is why I came, to photograph the workspaces and to make pictures about the persistence of objects in art making.

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