September 4th through October 16th, 2021 – Opening Reception Saturday, September 4th, 7-11pm.
On Saturday, September 4th, at 7pm, Leon will premiere new work from acclaimed local artist, Matthew Harris, for his second solo exhibition, Watermelon Snowfall. The exhibition will include new paintings and sculptures created throughout the past year. A favorite among other artists in the local community, Harris boldly explores painting techniques from the perspective of an artist who typically works in three dimensions. Unrestrained by the standard rules and techniques of more formally trained painters, Harris is able to breathe new life into the medium through his individualistic vision and playful explorations of composition through mark-making, layering, texture, rhythm, and in particular, his unique and unusual use of color.
We currently live within a plethora of immediate information, opinions, and entertainment. This stream of unfettered content is seductive and gives the illusion of easy answers to our problems. Sometimes I feel as if I am slowly and unconsciously being trained to turn to the digital landscape to try to understand my physical existence. While I am easily hypnotized by this endless source of novelty and drama, I desire to intentionally cultivate areas in my life that involve slow attention.
The studio is one place that forces this slow attention from me. I cannot google what color to use next or how to fix my current composition. The knowledge gained is from a physical lived experience that accumulates slowly and doesn’t immediately reveal itself. I have to sit with it, stare at it, make mistakes, and learn from it. The answers, if there is such a thing, often feel tangled, slippery, and elusive. To me this much better reflects my experience of the world than the carefully marketed and algorithmically controlled digital experience in which I frequently lose myself.
My hope is to make work that I do not immediately understand. I want to confuse, surprise and disorientate myself through my work. This can create somewhat of a dilemma when asked to explain it and to be honest, I don’t have the answers at the moment. I could tell you it’s about color and pattern, order and chaos, abstraction and figuration, but I’m not sure that would actually provide you with a greater personal experience of viewing it. I encourage you to stop reading this statement and return to the artwork. Let it reveal itself slowly and don’t try to name it too early. I’ll do the same and maybe in a few years we’ll both have a better idea of what it is.
Matthew Harris received his MFA at the University of Colorado Boulder (2011) and is currently the Head of Fine Arts at the Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design in Denver, CO. When he’s not making art or teaching, he enjoys napping and reading books. The exterior of his house is painted grey, his dog won’t stop barking, his wife is amazingly supportive, and his two-year-old daughter enjoys being silly. Further details may be found on his website at http://www.matthewharris.net.
To read Gretchen Marie Schaefer’s essay click here
Below you can view Matthew’s conversation with Donald Fodness, which was originally broadcast via Zoom on Tuesday, October 12th.