April 26 – May 13
Matthew Engert’s suite of large-scale oil paintings, in this exhibition, reflect his recent focus on those aspects of his practice which are rooted in process, materiality, and aesthetics. These works, although a logical progression of the often dark, formless, and minimal aesthetics of his oeuvre constitute a break from the heretofore overtly concept-driven nature of his practice. Hence, this exhibition is a ‘Year Zero’ within Engert’s practice.
With the “hang” of this show, Engert seeks to address notions of context relating to the creation and display of art work/s, and to the role of the studio and gallery as sites of creation and display.
In contrast to Untitled 2 (2017) and Untitled 3 (2017), both of which are traditionally “finished” and displayed (i.e., stretched and hung on the gallery wall), the work, Untitled 0 (2016), remains un-stretched and presented rolled-out on the floor of the gallery. Thus referencing the artist’s process and the space in which the work was conceived, and emphasising the materiality of the art object: the marks could only be made by laying the canvas flat against a concrete floor, whereupon thick paint can be applied and firmly worked into and around the surface without dripping; the physical dimensions and floor covering of Five Walls are similar to that of Engert’s studio, and close inspection of all three works reveals the necessity of the artist having to stand on and within the image, in order to execute its creation.
The incursion of Untitled 0 (2016) into the 3D space of this exhibition, whereupon it transmutes into an installation that can only be experienced within this gallery, compounds the defiance of easy digital-age consumption, inherent to all three works via their resistance to photographic documentation due to the opacity of muted tones on black canvas.
Matthew Engert’s practice spans painting, photography, film, video, sculpture and installation. He is currently a postgraduate researcher at the Centre for Ideas within the Victorian College of the Arts, University of Melbourne. His research is focused on the intersection/s between art and philosophy, and incorporates ideas from post-punk and eastern traditions.