January 11 — February 22, 2020
Conduit Gallery is pleased to announce Offering, an exhibition of new work by Matt Clark.
Evoking the true spirit of collaboration, Dallas-based Clark and Oaxaca, Mexico, artists Jacobo and María Ángeles have created work that forms a cultural bridge, uniting the craft of traditional artists and the work of a contemporary painter.
Clark’s abstracted landscapes were a starting point for the collaboration: broad strokes of watercolor on paper that then were given to the Ángeleses for their creative input. Known worldwide for their alebrijes, intricately painted wooden spirit animals, the Ángeleses drew upon historical Mexican references to create works that are a fusion of artisan craft and contemporary abstract design. Archetypal motifs are found throughout the exhibit, adding an element of mystical folklore to each piece. The shadows and shapes of animals and geometric designs painted with natural dyes – indigo, cochineal, marigold, copal tree bark – are layered over the abstract landscapes, not in contradiction, but, rather, enriching the overall visual impact.
Clark is known for large scale abstract paintings that address the sense of place, physical, spiritual and emotional. The Oaxaca influence of the collaborative work can be seen in his latest individual works, where he experiments with pattern, color, space and scale.
“I’ve always been drawn to the idea of handmade, woven textiles, carefully constructed and labored over,” said Clark. “This idea of craft as art resonates throughout Mexico, especially in Oaxaca. My recent paintings began in Oaxaca and were inspired by my travels to the small pueblos scattered throughout the Sierra Madres. My textile pieces are composed of bands of painted canvas, evoking this surreal landscape but also alluding to the textiles created in the region.” The overall work reflects a conversation between two cultures that is based on trust, partnership and shared artistic endeavor. This synthesis is more relevant right now than at any other time in the history between Mexico and the United States. What began as an exercise in artistic innovation by a Texas artist, has evolved into a bilateral cultural exchange project of artistic curiosity.