Matt Dangler’s “Out from the Whirlwind” opens at M Modern on December 12th in Palm Springs.Â Since we last talked to Matt (where he shared an image with us explained the theme of the show) we know many of you have been itching to see more of the body of work.Â We managed to get a couple more images for you, but you will have to wait until the show to see all of the of the paintings (please contact M Modern Gallery to be on the preview list).Â We did however have a chance to talk to the Dangler and ask him some questions.Â Here is an excerpt from the interview:
“A painting is more like an experience for me. I feel one with every piece I create… they are an extension of who I am, what I am going through…”
Full interview after the jump.
Arrested Motion (AM): Can you pick one of your 10 pieces from this upcoming exhibit and give us a little insight on the ideas behind it?
Matt Dangler (MD): Well the piece that is promoting the show right now: “Mysterium Tremendum,” has a lot of metaphorical imagery. I usually do not like to give the viewer a clear answer like a punch line in a joke, sometimes that effect works if the piece is clearly meant to be humorous and I feel the detail or facial expression of a character could hold enough interest… but usually I want to create a story or mystery behind a character or environment, where the viewer can use their own imagination to bring my paintings to life. The piece “Mysterium Tremendum” is more like a diary entry for myself… First off, the title “Mysterium Tremendum” means the tremendous mystery, it is a holy and appropriate fear of God, or “to name the fascinating mystery that was the object common to all forms of religious experience.”
The painting involves a character unlocking an old weathered door that has a triangle carved into the wood. This represents unlocking the door to the fathoms of the sub-conscious where I have found these remarkable creations, spirituality, and new life… (“God” in other words, to religious people.) There are chinese characters carved into small decorative pieces that are composed around the character’s neck, these chinese characters say things such as: serenity, liberation, love, wisdom etc. All examples of what is found within one’s self (the sub-conscious or collective unconscious.) The Iris flower has a lot of metaphorical meaning, the Goddess Iris would carry messages from the “eye of heaven” to the earth by the arc of the rainbow. So the Iris also symbolizes the “eye of heaven.” Which means that every time we carry an iris flower we carry a piece of heaven with us. The leaves are said to represent faith, wisdom, and valor. The Iris has been a symbol of royalty and divine protection for centuries throughout the world.
I put a lot of thought, soul, and sincerity into my paintings. The technique, style, and earth tone color palette helps harmonize all of the ingredients to hopefully mix together into a true piece of fine art… rather than a highly rendered conglomeration of imagination with not much of a story or idea behind it, that just kind of results into fancy wallpaper. Those kinds of pieces are eye candy but not something that I am interested in revisiting over time, I need depth… a story… the piece needs to say something. Styles and characters get old… but what they are saying does not. For that reason, I put a lot of focus on creating a story within all 10 pieces in this new show… I am not saying they all have the answer to life, but they all give the viewer something to think about… unlike wallpaper.
AM: All of the figures in your paintings look very original. In fact, it doens’t seem like you have ever used the same character more than once. Can you describe how you develop these characters? Do you have a favorite character that you plan on bringing back?
MD: My characters and worlds are all about the mood, the feeling, and the concept… that is the fuel that ignites what emerges within the piece. Granted the characters are what grabs the viewer’s attention, but the mood, the feeling, and the concept are what creates the characters… not the other way around. All of the colors, characters, and objects that appear were all initially influenced by a certain mood or feeling I wanted to express. At the drawing stage it is a stream of consciousness… that is, just basically meditating and seeing what starts to appear and being one with my thoughts and feelings… total liberation. Then all the ingredients (mind, pencil to paper, ideas, mood, flow, composition) all start to move harmoniously together without much deliberate force. Personally, that is where I feel the depth and longevity of the piece is… the heart of the piece. Everything needs to flow harmoniously together or else I won’t feel comfortable moving on with the drawing. After I have the piece all drawn out in a final sketch is when I gather reference to enhance my vision.
… A painting is more like an experience for me. I feel one with every piece I create… they are an extension of who I am, what I am going through etc. When I am comfortable enough in developing my style until a point where it feels completely harmonious is when I will incorporate thoughts on some more worldly related concepts. For now my paintings are very personal to me, if I am fortunate enough some viewers will find a connection and enjoy the experience as much as I did. Characters reoccurring is fun, but it seems more of a marketing strategy to me. If a character reappears it is only because I must feel the same that day as I did when I created it the first time…
AM: What do you plan on doing after your “Out From the Whirlwind” exhibit? Is there anything on your mind at the moment that you would like to share?
MD: … I am going someplace warm to sit on the beach and meet beautiful women. That is all that matters… no seriously… who’s with me?
But… art related… I plan on painting 4 or 5 foot paintings that are heavily conceptual and involve more use of the human figure. Don’t take me wrong though… it will still be the same worlds and bizarre characters that I create… just with realistic human figures interacting with them in more involved worlds.
Thanks so much for your time and interest – I hope you all get a chance to experience the whirlwind. ; )