Last Friday, Matt Small (interviewed) opened his first U.S. exhibition at Merry Karnowsky Gallery, as part of the BritWeek Art Program in partnership with the British Council and the L.A. Art Machine. Recognition is a collection of paintings, drawings, and mixed media, depicting vibrant portraiture of what the artist views as “the marginalized and voiceless in society, those who are socially excluded.” Small portrays those on the fringes of society, drawing attention to those who may be overlooked, challenging prejudices and bringing forward a shared sense of humanity. Merry Karnowsky relates, “not only is he bringing dignity and recognition to individuals who might otherwise go unnoticed in society, but he also makes a societal commentary as an individual by choosing to paint on recycled materials that are often discarded and disregarded in the same manner.”
His work reflects a remarkable control of fluidity, employing impressionistic techniques with brilliant rainbows of color applied in thick impasto, while maintaining a profound naturalistic clarity. His portraits are on found pieces of wood, metal, and concrete, often combining these materials to construct his own surfaces on which to paint. His current work is largely influenced by his 2010 visit to the Robert Shitima School in Kabwe Village, Zambia, where he worked with SWOON to create art workshops for orphaned children and raise money for the school.
More photos courtesy of Carlos Gonzalez after the jump…
Discuss Matt Small here.