Studio Visit with Matthew Robertson

By Ashley L. Voss

Studio Visit with Matthew Robertson

Art Attack SF speaks with Matthew Robertson about his latest triptych titled Passage. Additional work by Matthew is included in "Into the Wild," a rotating group exhibition of works by over 40 California-based artists on view through June 2nd, 2018. View more of his work here!

Where does most of your creative inspiration come from?
Great question! Most of my work is autobiographical in nature. While I might not necessarily be interested in communicating specific ideas or stories about my past to the viewer, I often use personal experience to fuel my artistic output. Philip Guston and Louise Bourgeois are a couple of artists whose self-referential approach to the creative process makes sense to me and that I model my own after.

In your more recent works it seems your style has evolved to interweave realism and geometric elements – is there anything in particular that provoked this change?
For a while now I’ve been exploring what happens when realism is interwoven with abbreviation and abstraction. There’s a kind of dissonance that occurs when we’re presented with an image that is both recognizable as well as impossible. In terms of my art, I find that I like to dwell in this liminal space between the representative and the imaginary.

Can you tell us more about your recent triptych Passage?
I’m interested in working with narrative and the triptych is a format that has an inherent narrative characteristic to its structure. A few artists whose pivotal work informed my process were Max Beckmann’s Departure, Francis Bacon’s Three Studies for Figures at the Base of a Crucifixion and Heironymus Bosch’s Garden of Earthly Delights.

Conceptually, I was directly inspired by the Greek myth of King Minos and the Minotaur.  It’s a myth that resonates with me deeply and on many levels. The framework for this piece was to investigate my family of origin in relationship to the story of the Minotaur.  Passage is a projection of my childhood shot through the prism of that wild myth and caught frozen in time on the triptych’s panels. 

What is an average day like in the studio for you?
I’m currently working towards an MFA at the University of Maryland in College Park and I get to spend a lot of my time in the studio.  It’s a wonderful program that affords its graduate students a good deal of time and space to focus on their studio practice. Mostly I’m painting with oils and other traditional media, though I have been doing some time-based work as well as dipping my toes in the waters of screen printing.

What is the most indispensable item in your studio?
Myself, showing up on a regular basis.

The "Into the Wild" group exhibition is on view through June 2nd!
Gallery hours are Wednesday - Sunday, noon - 8pm.


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