MATTHEW WOODWARD / INTERVIEW
09 July 2012


Describe yourself with 10 words.

Lately there is a heat that gawks wide the birds


Describe your work with 10 words

mouths, they no more talk than fly in the red


Who´s the first artist/photographer that comes to your mind?

Right now, Lee Bontecou. She has my heart.


Tell us a little bit about yourself, where do you come from and where is your journey going to?

I was born in Rochester, New York to a Kodak family. I remember thinking my sisters, who were born in Chicago, like my parents, were heartbroken and wanted it all back. So, when I was twenty-one I moved there, to Chicago, for school at the Art Institute and then back to New York for more school and to study drawing. I live in Chicago now, I work here and love here.


How would you describe your style?

Firstly, I think I would describe my style, or style in general, as that thing in an artist that they cannot control. That escapes their practice hugely unseen, that eludes them and is eluded by them, like the time they are working in. Is a set of limitations. And, in some cases, specifically defines their work as an inability to understand that time, so that their work, eventually, invents into cliches, and strays into artifice. And in those cliches are the motions of a particular movement, singular to that time. Inescapable, impossible to see. In my own work, I think there is a great desire to recreate a lost object, I think it’s driven by pressures to recall the lost found object, as in a labyrinth. I think there is the numerous attempts to recover and confront a collective memory that is no longer our own experience, and which is hidden all around us.


Your house is on fire, what do you save?

Lupe (cat)


Something you want the world to know about you?

That when my house is on fire the only thing that matters is Lupe.


Tell us a song that has haunted you.

I’ve been smitten with a Richard Skelton song for over a year, it’s off Landings, it’s called Green Withins Brook. I’ll go weeks with it on repeat. That and the Unter/Uber movements by Nils Frahm.


What keeps you motivated and inspires you to go on every day?

That’s a very good question and I think the toughest one to answer, to be honest with you. There isn’t any particular thing that motivates me, art or otherwise. I hold myself to some pretty high standards, I work all the time and do little else, and so does every one around me. And it’s them, I think, that inspire me. When I meet people who are in love with their work, who can talk about little else but acupuncture or yoga or coffee and whose excitement about it gets you excited about them, when I meet those people I want to run back into the studio. People who are in it with you.


What did you want to be when you were 13?

When I was 13 I wanted to make art. That’s it.


How have you handled the business side of being an artist?

I think I’ve handled it alright. I happen to be represented by a great gallery here in Chicago, Linda Warren Projects, and she always has my back and rights wrongs for me, and, surely, I’ve tripped up a few times. I’ve worked really hard for what I have and I’ve always tried to be kind when I can and just keep working and go slow and trust the process. You come across a lot of manipulation in this business, it can be frigid sometimes and thankfully I’ve been able to dodge all that and bow out when it does arise. I’ve tried to surround myself with really positive and driven people and I think that shows. For instance, I live and work in a two story building in Chicago and I share it with my best friends, my brothers, who play in a band called Big Science and it’s easily some of the most incredible and powerful music I’ve ever heard and to be around them everyday is electrifying. And I’m grateful for that. I think all of these things, surrounding yourself with good people, forgiving yourself, finding gratification everyday in an essentially thankless and lonesome profession is essential to the business side of an artists career.


What can we accept from you in 2012, any concrete plans?

I have a good amount of things coming up. A number of shows state-side. But from my work you can expect a lot less rendering, though the mechanical reduplication component will still be there. And there will be lot more activity and color. The activity is becoming the tell-tale object, the focus, rather than the centralized figure. The color I’ve been getting is a particular materials own response to duration. I’ve been experimenting with some non traditional materials lately and their relationship to long periods of weathering. I’m also trying to move away from paper. I’m learning how to let go, and basically trying to make it as hard as possible to make art.


italian or chinese?

Italian.













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