KNOEDLER PROJECT SPACE presents Matt Magee: New Paintings, an exhibition of abstract oil paintings created in 2009–2010, including a number of works from On a Clear Day, 2010, a series of 7 x 5 inch oils (painted on announcement cards for a 2005 exhibition of a 1973 series of screenprints by that title by Agnes Martin), in which the artist executes variations on the “theme” of Martin’s underlying grid.
While this series points out a lineage between Agnes Martin and Magee, elsewhere his exploration of optical harmonies and patterns has been compared to Albers, Noland, and Tomaselli. And Magee, himself, acknowledges strong influence from Myron Stout and Forrest Bess.
In a recent statement on his work, Matt Magee described himself as follows: Matt Magee is a scavenger and archivist and his paintings are based on systems of randomness and order. Submerged in the repetition and precision of his motifs is an internalized personal vocabulary rooted in memory and experience. Often a word and its associations become a title, a starting point for a painting. In some instances framing the imagery with a painted border intensifies and focuses the activity of the surface. The barcodes and wavy lines are devices that record time and information in the same way that scientific graphs and charts might. As the paintings develop, Magee pushes toward a metaphysical layer where the language of form and rhythm becomes a diagram of the unconscious.
Matt Magee was born in 1961 in Paris, France and received an MFA from Pratt Institute in 1986. The artist currently lives and works in New York City. He has been the recipient of the Josef and Anni Albers Foundation Residency in Bethany, Connecticut (2007) and received a New York State Foundation for the Arts Painting Grant in 2002 and a Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant in 1991. His most recent solo exhibition was held in 2009 at the Devin Borden Hiram Butler Gallery in Houston.
Matt Magee: New Paintings is open now and will remain on view through Saturday, November 13. A reception for the artists will be held on Thursday, September 23 from 5:30 to 7:30 pm. The gallery is open Tuesday through Friday, 9:30 am to 5:30 pm and Saturday from 10:00 am to 5:30 pm.
Image: Matt Magee, Thistle Two, 2010, oil on panel, 18 x 12 inches