Matt Connors / Tune
29th March - 13th May 2023
43 Museum St, London WC1A 1LY
Herald St is pleased to present Tune, an exhibition of new paintings and drawings by Matt Connors taking place at the gallery’s Museum St premises. In this presentation, Connors continues an approach to abstraction which is at once studied and intuitive, considered and irreverent. His layered surfaces reveal dark grounds and palimpsests of beaming colour, with forms upon forms building and dissolving structures. Previously working primarily in acrylic, he is increasingly using oil paint in his work, mining the medium’s malleabilities and playing with tensions and looseness. Connors is a multidisciplinary artist who also publishes books, writes, and curates, and the music, literature, and everyday visual cues
which surround him make their way surreptitiously into his canvases and works on paper. In his words, ‘painting is thinking’.
Ten paintings, and a suite of drawings. The title Tune is musical, an adjacency I most often aspire to. But just as much as I am thinking about an orchestra at the opera tuning up, testing notes, finding keys, getting in synch, Or ‘tune’ simply meaning that magical thing: a song, Or the ecstasy of a listener, upon hearing a track they find exceedingly compelling, shouting (or typing) out the word – ‘TUNE!’,
I'm also imagining a car's engine struggling to catch until a cog is jostled or a gear is lubricated. Or a machine needing a string passed through a hole and latched onto a spring in order to allow the on/off switch to work.
...parts, a wrench, a baton, a latch, a wedge.
The paintings are filled with such parts and holes. I also contemplated the title TRAP DOOR. There's an actual trap door in my studio that leads to very steep, rickety stairs to a basement. I've integrated its presence into my studio routine: opening it, closing it, avoiding tripping over or into it, organizing all movements around it. The door in the floor and the stairs – connecting parts.
To walk down the steep steps into the basement, I have to sort of lean back and slightly bend my knees and be prepared to suddenly sit back on the steps behind me in order to avoid tumbling forward. It feels like a dance, and it feels like music. All of it like a mirror to the difficult and improvised route through which I find my way into and out of my paintings.
Sometimes I barely avoid tripping, sometimes I zip down and right back up,
Sometimes I almost die.
– Matt Connors
© Matt Connors - Photo: Andy Keate
Courtesy the artist and Herald St, London