Many aspects of human lives are built using a grid. Urban and suburban infrastructures are most visible, thanks to Google Maps and the likes. On a smaller, often indiscernible scale, the same system is used as one of the foundational tools for visual design. The introduction of this grid as a primary governing principle in Matt Conner’s new series is immediately remarkable.
Titled Bottoms, the modest size paintings inhabit the walls of Cherry and Martin. There is also a small number of works on paper. Upon a casual inspection, the artist’s color swatches and pencil marks appear dated and almost musty. Thankfully, this impression is promptly replaced with a refreshing, contemplative appreciation for Connor’s own hands at work; carefully treading and canvasing the surface and edges to divide up rectangular territories, leaving occasional stains and blotches.
When distilled to its essence, the use of a grid is in fact an act of negotiation. City planners and developers must contend with nature as well as existing structures when laying down a blue print. Where to draw the line is truly the question. The decision can make or break the future habitat of its prospective citizens. In Connor’s hands, the suggested epicenter is always off-centered, deviating from the geometric center of a canvas. By shifting the axis, the inertia of the artist’s bold colors gives way to subtle but compelling energy —enough to create a perceptible shifting of rise and fall. To enjoy the show, slow and steady does it.
Matt Connors’ Bottoms is on view through Saturday, June 13, 2015 at Cherry and Martin in Culver City. It’s a WORTH-STUCK-IN-GRIDLOCK.
All images by author for editorial purposes only.