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Dear Diary: Matthew Offenbacher

Seattle artist Matthew Offenbacher is a collaborator through and through. He’s also an enthusiastic looker and thinker. From 2008 until 2013, he produced La Norda Specialo, a free zine featuring writing by and about visual artists in the Pacific Northwest, including his own memorable essay “Green Gothic,” which brings together the pop film sensation Twilight, Mark Dion’s Neukom Vivarium, the designs of Richard Haag at Gas Works Park and the Bloedel Reserve, a 1935 painting by Emily Carr, and contemporary artist Gretchen Bennett’s drawings of Kurt Cobain to consider ideas of Northwestern landscape, industrial exploitation, imprisonment, and redemption. With Bennett and Wynne Greenwood, he operated Sea-Cat (Seattle Catalog, LLC) between 2011 and 2014 as a way to “experience community within a sales environment.” He’s organized a temporary space for small groups of artists to team up at the Henry Art Gallery. And he’s looking north to Vancouver and south to Portland for models of artist-driven projects and spaces.

Offenbacher’s paintings are informed by historical ideas about beauty and decor. For Bed Bath & Between, the current show at SOIL Gallery he created with Julie Alexander and Nicholas Nyland, the work of nine local and international artists is sited on and in front of wallpapers made by the three organizers. It’s an aesthetic of abundance and exuberance, and Matt’s own two still-lifes paintings of flowers oscillate against the patterned wallpaper, objects on top of one moment and windows through the next, like the landscape that’s first a view out beyond the red room then a gold-framed painting inside it in Henri Matisse’s 1908 The Dessert: Harmony in Red (The Red Room). Offenbacher’s also experimenting with new mediums. When artist and friend Jeffry Mitchell was abroad for a residency a few months ago, he invited Offenbacher to use his studio. The result is Offenbacher’s first ceramic pieces, including a recumbent otter who can hold a variety of accessories on his belly.

Here’s a day in Matt’s life:

Morning, Jennifer.

Morning, Jennifer.

Morning, Matt.

Morning, Matt.

It’s hard to decide what to read during breakfast.

It’s hard to decide what to read during breakfast.

Hello gmail.

Hello, gmail.

Art I see every day: Annie Butrus’s watercolor, Heide Hinrich’s bowl, one of my paintings, Jeff Mitchell’s fist sculpture, Jenny Heishman’s vase, Joey Veltkamp’s quilt, Gretchen Bennett’s scarf with Rumi Koshino’s ceramic bird on top, Kimberly Trowbridge’s painting.

Art I see every day: Annie Butrus’s watercolor, Heide Hinrich’s bowl, one of my paintings, Jeff Mitchell’s fist sculpture, Jenny Heishman’s vase, Joey Veltkamp’s quilt, Gretchen Bennett’s scarf with Rumi Koshino’s ceramic bird on top, Kimberly Trowbridge’s painting.

Biking to the studio.

Biking to the studio.

Seattle!

Seattle!

Check out this sign.

Check out this sign.

I need to clean this up! People are coming to visit.

I need to clean this up! People are coming to visit.

Ok, that’s better.

Ok, that’s better.

The back cover of this Bonnard book is TRIPPING ME OUT.

The back cover of this Bonnard book is TRIPPING ME OUT.

Tea time with Jenny, Carolina and Shaw.

Tea time with Jenny, Carolina, and Shaw.

I showed them my new ceramic sculptures.

I showed them my new ceramic sculptures.

Nap time. (I was just pretending, Shaw took this picture, but it happens a lot.)

Nap time. (I was just pretending, Shaw took this picture, but it happens a lot.)

My studio desk...

My studio desk…

...and bookshelf.

…and bookshelf.

Biking downtown. POTHOLE!

Biking downtown. POTHOLE!

Printing something out at the library.

Printing something out at the library.

I tried to make friends with this dog outside the grocery store.

I tried to make friends with this dog outside the grocery store.

Shaw and I went to Greg Kucera’s gallery and Britta Johnson took this picture of me looking at her videos. (I love them.)

Shaw and I went to Greg Kucera’s gallery and Britta Johnson took this picture of me looking at her videos. (I love them.)

Jennifer and I packing before catching the train to Portland for the weekend.

Jennifer and I packing before catching the train to Portland for the weekend.

Comments
One Response to “Dear Diary: Matthew Offenbacher”
  1. Andy says:

    Cool, Matt! Thanks for sharing your daily routine. Mine is actually pretty similar, except Seattle is replaced by Kherson, the art studio by our office, and the pothole with a gazillion potholes.

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