Today we’d like to introduce you to Matthew Kluber.
Matthew, we’d love to hear your story and how you got to where you are today both personally and as an artist. My experience as an artist began traditionally with training at an art school, I received a BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design (’87) and an MFA from the University of Iowa (’91).
My art school training preceded digital technology and I did not engage with computers until I was out of school and beginning my studio and teaching career. The first computer I ever worked with was in the mid-’90s and it was a hand me down from the architecture department at the university where I was teaching – it was very slow with little memory.
Whenever I tried to render something in a graphics program, the computer locked up and the screen would be filled with horizontal bands of color, signaling a crash. Because I was new to the technology and had no real expectations, I became deeply enamored with the visual phenomenon of the crash – I loved the beautiful, horizontal stripes of light and color – this was a new and unexpected visual experience.
The horizontal stripes made me think of hard-edge abstraction, but these stripes were not the formal elements of a painting – they represented the implosion of digital information. This was an important moment of insight for me and was the foundation of the work that I make today.
We’d love to hear more about your art. What do you do you do and why and what do you hope others will take away from your work?
My work is created in two parts: first, I make large-scale abstract paintings on aluminum panels; then, I use custom software to create layers of light, color, and motion graphics that is projected onto the paintings. This work investigates the intersection of painting and digital technology, locating itself at the point where the physical world (traditional media) meets the virtual world (new media).
At this intersection the ephemeral, un-located space of video is attached by means of projection to the fixed object of a painting; illuminating it with a new color space (additive + subtractive color), code-derived content and the element of time to construct a hybrid pictorial experience.
The paintings are composed of linear, geometric elements that reference the narrow, colorful, horizontal bands of data – signaling a crash – that had frequently filled the screen of my (former) computer. This downside of digital technology, its flaws and defects, provided a unique visual experience and became an unexpected, rich source of imagery. The thin horizontal stripes refer to that imploding data, while the picture plane alludes to the computer screen – resulting in a carefully edited version of a visual phenomenon normally associated with the breakdown of a system.
The projections are created with custom software written in C++ and Open GL, a powerful graphics tool used primarily to create video games. This software allows me to accomplish a wide range creative functions such as the ability to crop the area of the projection to fit the exact dimensions of a painting, to manipulate the timing and fading of the projector; and to play multiple layers of video and motion graphics in specific areas of a painting.
Additionally, encoded variables ensure that certain layers of imagery never play the same way twice. These layered, time-based, projections become painterly, cinematographic effects that animate and extend the surface of the paintings.
Reference points for this work come from my interest in the historic changes brought about in art by the social and cultural upheavals and rapid developments in science and technology in the 1960’s and 70’s. In particular, I have had a long interest in the color-field painters Kenneth Noland, Gene Davis and Morris Louis; as well as light and space artists James Turrell, Robert Irwin, Doug Wheeler and Dan Flavin. They sought to dematerialize the art object; their work diffused the luminous effect of color so that the boundaries of the frame and material substance seemed almost incidental to the perceived intensities of continuous color and light sensation.
The sterotype of a starving artist scares away many potentially talented artists from pursuing art – any advice or thoughts about how to deal with the financial concerns an aspiring artist might be concerned about?
Trying to balance making a living and making work is a problem unique to every artist. I would say that maintaining the discipline to make work is key. One should organize one’s life to provide some time each day, however long, to make work. This allows you to stay connected to ideas, to take risks, to learn something through the process. Any amount of time is important – so when one does have the luxury of a long stretch to work, you can engage with the work immediately. Finally, seek out other artists for feedback and support, this helps you to remember that you are not alone.
Do you have any events or exhibitions coming up? Where would one go to see more of your work? How can people support you and your artwork? People can see my work at: David Richard Gallery (New York/Santa Fe) http://www.davidrichardgallery.com/index.cfm