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Dolby Chadwick Gallery opens exhibition of new works by Matt Gonzalez
Matt Gonzalez, After the autumn-waiver, flowersome, 2018. Found paper collage, 24 x 18.

SAN FRANCISCO, CA.- Dolby Chadwick Gallery is presenting Matt Gonzalez’s new show Derivations in Color.

Gonzalez’s collages are meditations on the nature of equilibrium. They create a balance between the ‘feeling and the syntax of things’ (to quote E.E.Cummings), between our sensuous, emotive experience of the world and the rational interpretation of it. Geometrical lines and figures form highly structured compositions that are so complex and self-contained that they look like living systems. But each of them is also suffused with a sumptuous color that exudes a nearly religious depth and simplicity. Balancing the two, Gonzalez creates an aesthetic equilibrium from which a subtle glow seems to emanate—like bioluminescence from a still, silent sea.

Gonzalez composes his collages from discarded pieces of paper and packaging, which he finds on his walks through the city. “Every one of the scraps,” he says, “has its own unique character, not just through its original function and use, but also through the distress of time and erosion.” And it’s not just the physical properties that interest Gonzalez. Each of these castaway scraps, he explains, is part of a story that gets woven into the unknown subtext of the collage. “I like the notion of repurposing or transplanting a carton that used to carry cigarettes or soda into a work of art. It’s a reminder of what is possible: second chances, a degree of redemption.”

The different lines and shapes that emerge from collaging the trimmed materials fall into structured landscapes that the viewer may spontaneously try to translate into familiar figures, say the outline of a cityscape, circuit board, or labyrinth. But as soon as we think we have identified a recognizable pattern, it vanishes, morphs into some other idea of order, which in turn will dissolve and change anew.  Gonzalez’s collages are kaleidoscopes of the mind.

This motion of geometrical motifs forms the dynamic framework for the collages’ distinctive colors. On first sight, a collage may appear monochromatic: red, blue, silver, black or gold; but, as Gonzalez explains, each is composed of dozens if not hundreds of subtly varied hues, painstakingly sorted, selected and collaged in a process that is often laborious, yet essential to making the interplay of tone against tone so effective. Whether opulent, mysterious or delicate, the colors in Gonzalez’s work are always rich and deeply satisfying.

For Gonzalez, equilibrium is more than a skillful distribution of visual weights, a balance among structural elements and colors. He calls his art non-objective rather than abstract because his collages are not abstractions of anything; they don’t seek to represent or even reference any particular object but to create compositions all their own. To achieve equilibrium hence means attaining a reality in which opposing forces are harmonized—arguably a state each of us endeavors to accomplish in our own lives.

Matt Gonzalez was born in South Texas. He studied at Columbia University and Stanford Law School. He came in touch with abstract art for the first time when he moved to New York. His artistic outlook is influenced by Dada, in particular Kurt Schwitters, and the Situationists. Since 2006 he has exhibited artworks in a variety of Bay Area art venues. This is his second solo exhibition with Dolby Chadwick Gallery since 2014.

The title Derivations in Color refers to both “root” and “source” as well as Guy Debord’s concept of dérive (often translated as drift): an experiment to intentionally rediscover our environment by inserting an element of unpredictability into our everyday routine, e.g. follow a red car.

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