Matt Bollinger — The Reservoir
Past: March 15 → May 10, 2014
It was at an early age that Matt Bollinger (born in New York in 1980) began drawing in a sketchbook given to him by his grandmother. His applied himself to copying scenes from comic books, which provided him with his first literary experience. And books are still sources of characters and inspiration for his collages. His initial approach was, it might be said, “indirect”: he painted on paper which he then cut up to make compositions.
More recently, he has been combining this technique with direct overpainting. His integrations and juxtapositions of surfaces make the result more complex, recalling the stratified structure of memory which simultaneously retains and displays images, like a book being read. Looked at this way, paintings bring events together in a fragmentary form of representation that embraces fiction, art history, or, indeed, folk music. Bollinger considers books as, in a sense, doors that open onto the parallel worlds of his characters, who are linked to personal memories. The subjects of these “portraits” hold books in their hands — and here one might think of the “attributes” of saints in medieval forms of representation such as illuminated manuscripts, the capitals of columns, frescos and Romanesque stained glass — signifying that the images are those of thought rather than writing.
Though figurative, they also comprise a large amount of abstraction. The scenes could not be less narrative: there are no gestures that express actions, nor is there any trace of real existence. These are manifestations of mental experience by someone who sees himself as a “chronic daydreamer and voracious reader”. And the monumental The Reservoir constitutes a “backdrop” to the entire exhibition, with its depiction of a chaotic bookshop in which piled-up volumes suggest the possibility of multiple experiences, for each of which Matt Bollinger could well have invented a character.
Opening Saturday, March 15, 2014 6 PM → 8 PM