Monday, March 01, 2004

Finally made it to the Roberto Matta exhibition at Boston College yesterday.

Matta: Making the Invisible Visible

I am generally very enthusiastic about the holistic nature of the McMullen Gallery's exhibits. They do a wonderful job contextualizing the art - through collaboration sometimes with the history department, literature, archaeology, whatever seems appropriate. I always leave impressed, even if the subject matter was not something that I'd ordinarily be interested in.

Their treatment of Matta is no exception. To describe this Chileno painter as merely a surrealist or abstract expressionist is to not do him justice. His work straddles a number of realms, just as one might say that he straddles genres - exploring and, in my view, very effectively communicating the tension of being caught between two differing and oppositional systems.

A prevailing theme is the biomorphic figure with the arms outstretched - either bringing to mind a crucifixion or breaking out walls that are enclosing it. Matta himself was interested in tensions between the Id and the Superego, between an individual's identity to him/her self and their role in society. He viewed conscious thought as 'reading a blueprint', straight, rectilinear, clearly structured. Subconsciousness as something multidimensional, mellifluous. Throughout his work, to different degrees, this is brought to life, sometimes humorously, sometimes in a manner that would make one feel uncomfortable.

As always, there is sufficient explanation of the exhibit, from artistic, historical, biographical and psychological standpoints. Not so much as to distract from the aesthetics of the pieces.

The show runs until May 24th and, unfortunately, there isn't a lecture series associated with it. I may try to get out on a Friday to go on a docent-led tour, however.

More on Matta's life and work

No comments: