“I am I and my circumstance; and, if I do not save it, I do not save myself. Benefac loco illi quo natus es, we read in the Bible”
Meditaciones del Quijote José Ortega y Gasset
My circumstance is everything, it is what builds my perspective, from which I know reality, and from which I seek meaning in what surrounds me. Circumstance or context is the enabling element that shapes us as human beings. We are the way we are because of our parents, friends, school, work, time and disaster. Choices, some random, some not so random, that place us at the moment we are in, that shape us as the people who are reading this.
We are what we are because we cannot be anything else, and this is the same thing that happens with Matthew Musgrave’s work, it is what it is because it cannot be anything else. Hisworkfeedsoff thecontextthatsurroundshim,withnodoubleintentions,nopretensions or hidden moralities. A work that is rooted in the painting itself and is the result of an amalgam of moving images that reside in his memory. No interest in the act of painting as an automatic and repetitive action, as an accumulation of studied brushstrokes that result in what one set out to do at the beginning of the painting.
The interest of his work lies in spontaneity and accidents, in understanding painting as a problem that you have to solve, and it is in the process of solving it where new approaches emerge that serve as a catalyst for new works. And it is his creative process that allows pieces with layers of paint so subtle that they reveal the materiality of the canvas to converge within the same language, with impastoed works, works that frame from the depths the paintings they support, works that have been lived, recovered, through which time has passed, and by time I mean years.
Painting, taking distance, analysing, erasing, adding, abandoning, hanging, embracing, packing, forgetting, recognizing, validating…
Marginalised in piles of canvases, reside the works that are not yet ready, that do not yet have essence or soul. Matthew tends to rethink each brushstroke, past and present, and it is through the formal game of placing his pieces in his workspace, tensioning the forms, rereading his own work, that past pieces are recognized and validated or present pieces are closed.
Always talking about his work from the general, from the nucleus, since trying to talk about a specific work, about this exhibition as a milestone or as something closed, as if it were a series, makes no sense. The work is conceived as a linear body that develops over time, without encapsulations or brackets between them. All share, all are in essence part of Matthew’s artistic process, all are a reflection of the context in which they were made, and all are latent witnesses of his circumstances.
Ronda De La Via 7, 08903 L'Hospitalet de Llobregat, Barcelona, Spain