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Water & Polaroid: Matthew Brandt's first exhibition in San Francisco opens at Highlight Gallery
Installation view. For Water & Polaroid, Matthew Brandt presents three bodies of work based on the manipulation of photographic emulsion.
SAN FRANCISCO, CA.- Highlight Gallery presents Matthew Brandt’s exhibition Water & Polaroid. This is Brandt’s first exhibition in San Francisco and first solo exhibition with Highlight Gallery. Water & Polaroid continues through May 18, 2013.

For Water & Polaroid, Matthew Brandt presents three bodies of work based on the manipulation of photographic emulsion. To create the works in the exhibition that involve Water, inspired by early landscape photography of the American West, Brandt incorporates the subject of the image into its manipulation. At its most elaborate, Brandt’s process involves using water from an actual waterfall he has photographed to rig an artificial waterfall that pours over the printed image, creating streaks of color that drip from the emulsion. At its most direct, he soaks prints in water drawn from their subject lakes.

Nymph Lake, one piece from Brandt’s Lakes and Reservoirs series, demonstrates this process. Out in the field, Brandt takes with him two key tools: a camera and a five-gallon plastic jug. “The camera is to take an image of the lake or reservoir, while the jugs are to take some of the actual lake,” he explains. Upon return to his studio, Brandt prints selected images, then empties the collected water into a large tray and submerges the C-print of the lake directly into itself. Finally, he waits, as the water in the image slowly breaks down the image itself over the course days, weeks, or even months.

In contrast to the external manipulations in his Water series, Brandt’s Polaroids explore the material of the photograph’s own substrate. By distressing the chemical emulsion of the Polaroid and manipulating the development process by hand, Brandt creates vertical color reliefs that mimic the structure of a waterfall in their flowing movement.

To complete the exhibition, Brandt presents for the first time a new body of work titled Water Falls, a series of light boxes that emphasize the extensive range of properties attainable through manipulated emulsion. For Mystic Falls, Brandt prints four separate color duraclear transparencies in cyan, magenta, yellow and black (cmyk), then subjects them to degradation in their own water for up to four weeks at a time. Using his artificial waterfall mechanism to interject the traditional cmyk colored layering process, Brandt creates a range of tonalities across multiple impressions of a single image of Mystic Falls, and then illuminates their every detail.

The work of Matthew Brandt belongs to the permanent collections of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), the Brooklyn Museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Royal Danish Library, the Armand Hammer Museum (Los Angeles), the Columbus Museum of Art (Columbus, OH) the Elton John Collection, the UBS Art Collection, the Statoil Collection, and the Wieland Collection. His first solo exhibition, held in the fall of 2011 at M+B, was selected by Modern Painters as part of “The 100 Best Fall Shows” and was reviewed in their December/January issue. Brandt was also named one of Forbes’ “Top 30 Under 30 in Art and Design” by Jeffrey Deitch, and his Spring 2012 solo show at Yossi Milo was described in The New Yorker as “a knock-out solo debut.” Brandt currently lives and works in Los Angeles.



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