UNPREDICTABLE PATTERNS OF BEHAVIOR
curator: Ombretta Agro' Andruff
Art Center South Florida, June 1 - July 29, 2013

Miami Herald review by Anne Tschida

Curated by Ombretta Agro' Andruff, Unpredictable Patterns of Behavior presented 12 artists, architects and composers who relate to patterns in unique and distinctive ways. Whether they extrapolate natural patterns and integrate them in their art-making processes, or play with geometrical patterns, or create their own patterns inspired by existing man-made landscapes or by invented systems, they all offer opportunities to go beyond the pure aesthetic enjoyment of the artworks featured in the galleries and reflect upon the patterns that served as their inspirations.

@ Richard Shack Gallery | 800 Lincoln Road, Miami Beach, 33139:
Ramon Bofill | George Goodridge, Felice Grodin, Peter Hammar, Monad Studio, PUNTO, Alex Trimino, Sara Walker

@ Project 924 | 924 Lincoln Road, Second Floor, Miami Beach, 33139:
Temisan Okpaku, Ryan Roa, Anne Morgan Spalter, Matt Sheridan

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Matt Sheridan presented two spaces of painting and painting-in-motion at Project 924 utilizing monochrome and color in circular and linear orientations. One of Sheridan's primary aims for installation is for his paintings and video to "hang" alongside each other in continuous space rather than categorically segregated into black box / white box paradigms. Another of Sheridan's goals for the work, shared by the curatorial vision of Agro' Andruff, is to enable viewers to enter into the space of painting itself -- a place where viewer/participants are surrounded by painting and the movement it engenders, whether actual or imagined.

Matt Sheridan Project 924 left room installation Rhythm Section, 2013, from left:
Untitled B/W, painting-in-motion video loop on 42" vertical monitor mounted on c-stand apparatus, 40 sec., 2008
Evil Twin III, acrylic on canvas, 26" x 22", 2013 (collection Dan+Kathryn Mikesell, Miami FL)
Chasing Tail, painting-in-motion video loop via dual channel corner projection, 40 sec., 2011

The first room -- entitled Rhythm Section -- was a black box scenario suite of monochrome works built from abstract patterns of elegant brutality made from time, space, light, object and ethereality. Rhythm Section has no sound so it can be "heard" through its action and percussion in concert with viewers' own localized electrical ambience. This architecturally enclosed oval-shaped room revealed from left: a monitor-based video sculpture (Untitled B/W, painting-in-motion video loop on 42" vertical monitor mounted on c-stand apparatus, 40 seconds, 2008), a small painting (Evil Twin III, acrylic on canvas, 26" x 22", 2013) and a corner projection (Chasing Tail, painting-in-motion video loop presented in dual channel projection, 40 seconds, 2011).

The monitor-based video sculpture Untitled B/W -- originally presented as a wall projection at the end of a hallway -- functioned both as painting on easel and sculptural body in its own right, constructed from readymade Hollywood c-stands, gobo arms and grips originally intended for holding lights to create cinematic illusion. In the case of Sheridan's video sculptures, these c-stand parts support projections and monitors to create fetishized bodies of light illuminating their own aesthetic terms. This rigid support provides a vital contrast against the content of the video, which ducks, dodges and blurs against the gaze of the viewer, yet is held firmly in place by its monitor framing and Hollywood lighting apparatus, forcing the video to endure the scrutiny of its "close-up."

The painting Evil Twin III (already a very bright black painting), lit by the ambient light of the monitor and video projections in the room, functioned as a still distortion field linking movement -- the internal monitor swirling of Untitled B/W and the exterior swirling Mobius strip corner projection of Chasing Tail -- the shared aesthetics of Sheridan's particular style of monochromatic action painting in all three works, and transitioning the framing of the works from monitor to stretcher bar to unframed shape anchored into a corner. Evil Twin III also shares the floating quality of video projection within its picture plane by utilizing optical disjunctions between stripes, strokes, textures and various tinted blacks and whites which are exacerbated by edges defined from both masking and materiality.

Chasing Tail, a painting-in-motion video which functions effectively in multiple situations from large-scale exterior facades to negative-space architectural cutaways to intimate domestic spaces, is set up here in a horizontal playing-card orientation, cycling into and around itself beyond simple mirroring or repetition. A frameless video defined only by its own formal shape and the corner of the room with its shortened throw dimensions, here Chasing Tail exemplifies painting-in-motion limited only by its own shape, space and movement as opposed to being framed by a monitor or stretcher bars, creating a study of freedom within limitations while exposing how freedom is denied by limitations of desire and repetition.

 

Project 924 main room installation from left:

Trips, painting-in-motion single-channel video projection, dimensions variable, 2013

edition of 3 + 2 AP
collections: Kathryn+Dan Mikesell, Miami FL and Andrew Peters, Brisbane Australia

"Liberated, Rendered Alien" : liner notes for Trips editioned video by Sarah Wang

Analog Feedback Loop 000 A-D, acrylic on canvas, 50" x 32", 2013
collections:
Analog Feedback Loop 000 C -- #2 from left -- John and Jacquelyn Stengel, Hollywood FL
Analog Feedback Loop 000 B -- @ far right -- William+Marie-Charlotte Harbour, Miami FL

In the second room, an open white-cube space shared with two other artists, Sheridan presented a linear set of paintings (Analog Feedback Loop 000 A-D, acrylic on canvas, 50" x 32", 2013) in a corner from left to right derived from the projection at left, Undead-prototype (painting-in-motion single-channel video projection, dimensions variable, 2013). The paintings' forms were collaged from stills taken from Trips, then flipped, rearranged, rotated and colored using color systems derived from SD-NTSC video bars, flesh tones and American currency. It is here that Sheridan takes on Miami as a subject for painting and painting-in-motion -- in particular picking on colors and attitudes that give Miami its swagger, for better or worse -- in a first attempt to address why Miami has been such a contentiously attractive location for Sheridan over the past three decades.

Like all Sheridan's works in the exhibition, painting-in-motion Trips is made of real paint marks digitally collaged then sequenced into/spliced onto a timeline/surface. Paint marks which make up Trips and the Analog collage/paintings were originally small scale (programmatic actions executed on 9" x 12" paper and scanned), but by scaling them up and putting them into motion, details likely missed become present. Also, gestural marks get expanded into/reclaim movement, rather than remaining records of gestural movement.

In the case of Trips, Sheridan chose the figurative action of "walking" as an armature for abstract motion, inspired by fashion videos of models on catwalks and his own feeling of aspiring to be fashionable while falling apart when quickly disembarking from an airplane, illuminating several essentially mythic qualities of the Miami experience. This shambling feeling of hopeless regeneration is present in the action of Trips, and it is this feeling that creates stills with strong graphic qualities which stand on their own -- a rarity in Sheridan's painting-in-motion work, where sequential movement is often prioritized over still image as generator for meaning.

The Analog paintings were made from real paint marks aspiring to the scale of the projection (Trips) which they are displayed aside, in a linear order which begins (from left to right) in the middle of the series/sequence. The Analog paintings apply color systems to the marks using a concept of relational aesthetics: color systems at first appear literally, as signifiers; when color systems' applications are broken down into value (light/dark, warm cool) decisions, they gained an elegant complexity beyond the exuberance of the mark-making.

Sheridan asks a series of questions with these paintings.  What does it mean to employ and combine a video color palette with a flesh color palette? What does it mean to make large scale marks in the context of action painting, which in many cases are historically made from a collection of small marks?  What does it mean to make abstract painting from a video-based abstraction, to sample oneself?  How does meaning change as conditions (order of application of color, composition) change from painting to painting?

Paint marks used in Trips and Analog Feedback Loop 000 A-D are hard edged and gestural: stroky, scrapy, splatter, and stripes (AFL 000 A-D only). In these paintings gestural marks are painted atop each other and atop a hard edged background. Gestures are mostly layered repetitions in place using 2 or three colors.
They are also often repetitions of marks in one place to build up their forms. As such they are "constructed gestures" subject to changes in meaning as color systems are applied.

Analog Feedback Loop 000 A reveals an order of 8 layers (counting background) which are applied in a fragmentary "work the entire drawing at once" manner, with fewer and fewer strokes applied to the top layers. Every decision made impacts upon the positioning of the next set of marks within one layer and on to the next. In addition, as Sheridan altered the original positioning of the collage to make each painting unique, his choices of color and order of applied marks became "unpredictable patterns of behavior" in themselves from painting to painting.

In 2013 where gestural painting may be cliché, TOUCH has become an alienating experience as well. When using video, Sheridan is limited to the texture of the wall he projects upon or to the skin of the monitor surface -- painting allows Sheridan freedom to create both real surfaces and textures which are compressed into movement. Exploring the intersections, conceptual iniquities, and conflicts between these aberrational paradoxes gives Sheridan reason to make abstract painting and paintings-in-motion.

Project 924 main room work made on location @ Fountainhead Residency Miami, FL courtesy Dan + Kathryn Mikesell

additional documentation by Hanae Utamura

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"Liberated, Rendered Alien" : liner notes by Sarah Wang for Trips editioned video

In Matt Sheridan's painting-in-motion piece, Trips, a pair of sturdy black and white brushstrokes—characterized by qualities of broad, animated strokes—jaunt to and fro in a sort of agonizing jig that simultaneously recalls the adjectival Irish (jig) and the typological bait (jig) that is jerked up and down through the water in attempt to lure fish. Both jigs are typified by movements that are designed to tempt and entice their audiences. Yet the way in which Trips jigs is neither tempting nor enticing, exactly. Rather, the looped video piece moves with equal parts grace and menace, joy and near-bumbling folly, landing each time with an electric splash of digitized paint. The brushstrokes form a pair of uncanny legs, torso-and-foot-less, marching akimbo with a measured, self-aware precision propelling this kinetic painting toward an abstraction that, when projected onto a surface, reclaims its texture, becoming as materially rich as layers of paint on a canvas.

As the legs march, occasionally triangulating or committing to an aerobatic flip, the paint strokes perform the anxiety of painting, à la Philip Guston. "A certain anxiety persists in the paintings of Piero della Francesca," Guston wrote about the 15th-century Italian painter. "What we see is a wonder of what it is that is being seen. Perhaps it is a certain anxiety of painting itself." In Trips, traces remain as each stroke continues its trajectory, leaving behind a shifting palimpsest as the eye registers every fast and expressive line of light and shadow. As Guston's anxiety was contemplative and productive, engendering awareness, it provided him a space to liberate himself of that which he already knew. The search for freedom within a work of art is embodied in Trips, which animates the exploration and reconsideration of the subjective in painting. In Sheridan's painting-in-motion, multiple viewpoints present themselves at once: the digitized, the painterly, and the animate—alongside the comic (dancing, amputated legs), the somber (a soundless procession), the destructive (each painted line erases itself immediately upon completion), and the generative (a line gives birth to itself).

Harkening Lichtenstein's Brushstrokes series, which depicted the gestural expressions of the brushstrokes themselves, the characterization of the brushstrokes in Sheridan's Trips are exuberantly emancipated. In isolating the brushstroke, it becomes its own subject. Through a process of making physical paint marks, digitizing the marks, collaging the digitization, animating the collage, and projecting the animation onto a surface (both the white wall of a gallery and the outside of buildings have been utilized), the painting is thus liberated from the canvas and rendered alien. Is it still a painting, and why? The answer is yes, and resoundingly so. In this age of screen culture, Sheridan's painting-in-motion is an undead reprisal of the form, hybrid in nature, both a painting and a video. In the spirit of Gerhard Richter and Wade Guyton, whose concerns involving the physical activity of painting have long preoccupied their practices, Sheridan reduces painting to its most essential symbol—at once legible and unrecognizable—while maintaining the presence of all its meanings in layers like geologic sediment.


Sarah Wang
writer for Animal Shelter, associate editor at Semiotext(e)
New York, New York
May 2015

 

 

 

 

MATT SHERIDAN

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