McAvoy, E. (2016). Matt Henry: Long Division. New Plymouth: Govett-Brewster Art Gallery.

Available as a download here.


Phillips, Bruce E. (2012, Feb 1). Painting Obsolescence [exhibition text] From the Series 16:9, Sydney Non Objective, 2012

Painting Obsolescence
Matt Henry: From the series 16:9, Sydney Non Objective, 4 – 26 February 2012

The desire of innovation and consumerism is an insatiable drive that finds its justification in both market trends and the hunger for technological advancement. Our consumption of products is sold to us through the promise of attaining symbolic cultural status, inclusion or enriched lifestyle. Yet the acquisition of such intangible outcomes are always fleeting, for every season or year we witness a new product or fashion that redefines these socio-cultural codes. In this system the new and refined are celebrated and the old and redundant are shunned. This is no more apparent than in the recent developments in television design. In its present incarnation the flat screen television presents a veritable intersection between art and design and the language of minimalist painting. Hanging on a wall with the monochromatic sublime of an Ad Reinhardt and the gleam of a Donald Judd, there is no question that the minimalism of the 1960s onwards has influenced the design of these objects. However, rather than attempting to attain a refined gestalt or some sort of ideal Platonic form, the drive for this design aesthetic is to be an adornment of sophistication and technological innovation.

By re-absorbing modernist and minimalist influences from mass-produced products, Matt Henry participates in complex systems of cultural and commercial value. In this process, a distinction is made between that which is appropriated for symbolic value and that which is designed with understanding. This distinction recognises the hand-in-hand role that artists and designers have had in the development of modernism and minimalism, but also considers the shift in ideological significance due to mass production. Modernist and minimalist influences found in consumer products, more often than not, are used as a veneer in which symbolic cultural capital is invested rather than formal enquiry.

It is in this conflict of aesthetic motivation, between minimalist art and industrial design, that Henry's practice intercedes. Taking interest in various forms, from humble architectural fixtures and domestic appliance design, Henry creates hyper-real abstract paintings. His chosen forms which range from ovens, hi-fi systems, fire alarms and circuit board casing, are critically considered for their reductive integrity.

Henry transforms these familiar objects into the ideological 'purity' of hard-edge modernist abstraction using only the materials conventionally associated with painting. These paintings are not only to be regarded as autonomous objects. They also engage with space in a similar way to early minimalism. Through considered placement, Henry groups paintings to act in site-specific capacities by intervening into the given architectonic logic of a space, often exposing inherent imperfections or idiosyncrasies of the space.

The inquiry into the tainted ideologies of modernism and minimalism is now well familiar, due to the parody by post-minimalist artists of the late 1990s such as Damien Hirst and Tom Friedman. In comparison, Henry's approach is more akin to those artists whose enquiries came to see the obvious sympathy between artistic ideology and the commercial. Key influences include New Zealand artists such as Billy Apple and Julian Dashper, whose practices added greatly to the commercial and institutional impact on painting. More closely aligned to Henry in generation and approach is the work of Francis Baudevin, whose paintings 'faithfully replicate [at large-scale] abstract geometric motifs culled from industrial packaging,' primarily pharmaceutical goods.1 Akin to Baudevin's approach, Henry's work investigates the conversion of aesthetic value as it undergoes semiotic translation between art, design and consumerism. This position is empathetic 'towards the cultural product of modernity' and neutralises any attempt at idealistic mystery behind the abstract.2

The 16:9 series encapsulates many of these nuances. Since 2008, Henry has expanded the series to investigate the ability to create believable mimesis as well as unpacking the design and engineering logic of these desired consumer products. In these works great investigation into limited materials has taken place. Custom machined frame mouldings, bulletproof glass, methods of mounting canvas stretchers and various hues and pigments have been experimented with to achieve the illusion of depth and sharp geometry that are synonymous with industrial manufacturing. These investigations have revealed interesting anomalies of the technology and the material conventions of painting. Of this, the development and invention of different picture aspect ratios used in the film and television industry deserve mention. In abstract form Henry draws attention to the visual impact of these arbitrary formats within the frame of a television's native ratio. The black banding or cropping that occurs on real televisions is highlighted in crisp contrast between incandescent yellows or greens and carefully chosen dark grey. A wry gesture that associates the compositional restraint of colour and shape in the history of abstract painting and a brash technological foible that most would overlook.

Most importantly the 16:9 series, considered in its entirety, explores the notion of obsolescence both in terms of redundancy but also progress and desire. Indeed, the trend for flat screen televisions is a textbook example of consumerism. The 16:9 series charts this insatiable consumerist drive through the development of the flat screen television - from the bulky plasma monitor and home theatre system to the latest slim-line LED screen. However, as an artistic enquiry it is intentionally problematic, as it is only as relevant as Henry's ability to convincingly replicate and riff off the new technological advancements within the convention of painting. In this pursuit the artist will always be painting in the shadow of obsolescence determined by market trends and the unsustainable desire for the new.

Bruce E. Phillips

1 Stroun, Fabrice. "Francis Baudevin." Frieze Magazine. Issue 75, May 2003.
http://www.frieze.com/issue/review/francis_baudevin/

2 Nickas, Bob. Painting Abstraction: New Elements in Abstract Painting abstraction, p184. New York: Phaidon Press Ltd, 2009.


Hurrell, John. (2014, Dec 22). Matt Henry in Te Tuhi [Web log]. Retrieved from http://www.eyecontactsite.com/2014/12/matt-henry-in-te-tuhi-ii

Matt Henry in Te Tuhi
Matt Henry: Structural Relief (Te Tuhi), 15 November - 24 December 2014, 3 January - 15 February 2015
Te Tuhi Centre for the Arts, Auckland

Matt Henry was last in Te Tuhi in 2011. This time however he is concentrating on the Drawing Wall and not using several rooms.
In this new ultra pristine wall relief there is a very fine line between sterility and fascination, between the boring and the exhilarating. For success in manipulating planar spatial relationships is a fragile thing, where not enough is just as disastrous as cluttered over-statement. Henry’s white composition of meticulously positioned rectangular or square shallow trays and projections is all about fine tuning and fastidious placement, working around the structure of a vaguely pulsing 3 x 8 grid.
Well not precisely a 3 x 8 grid. There is a little bit tacked on to the right to account for the wall’s edge and the optical distractions of the main room, while there is also some extra added height - to allow for foreshortening when you stand too close; plus the small implied strip underneath the bottom row allows the gridded image to anchor down and not ‘float away’.
Comparisons are the key, as you measure rectangle with square, or receding tray with projecting slab, or the gaps in between - forever cognisant of the light, the grey shadows on the white, the occasional burst of starkly reflected sunlight.
If you look at the three rows - well the two main (top and bottom) rows separated by a central blank band - you can see there is a sort of game of logical permutation going on when you ponder the vertical columns. Binary combinations being mucked around with - within the guise of what appear to be open or shut cupboard doors. Fittings in a kitchen.
This relates to Henry’s earlier projects where his box shaped sculptures looked like stereo speakers, heaters or fuse-boxes, where - using a minimalist/constructivist format - sculpture to be looked at and architecture to be entered merge.
So these ‘cupboards’? One could guess that the two ‘closed’ ones are where the doors match the trays, and that the remaining ones are the two varieties where door and tray are ill matched. Altogether they bring a very balanced, formal beauty.
But perhaps there is also an economic or social message too, about poverty - ‘when the cupboard was bare‘ from Old Mother Hubbard referring to being skint. Here it appears to be about times when parts (say, in a social structure) don’t join up: when a community is fragmented and components that should have empathy stay disparate, unconnected and misaligned. The show’s title - Structural Relief - seems to be a sly pun that is soaked in irony. Being actually about Unstructured Unrelief.
This understated but clever work creeps up on you. On the precarious edge of aridity it embraces wit and slowly hooks you.

John Hurrell


More reveiews at eyecontactsite.com

http://eyecontactsite.com/artists/matt-henry/


Atticus, Todd. (2011, Nov 1). Southside Arts Festival: Matt Henry – User Friendly [Web log]. Retrieved from http://spindlemagazine.com/2011/11/from-southside-arts-festival%E2%80%A8%E2%80%A8-matt-henry-user-friendly/

Southside Arts Festival: Matt Henry – User Friendly

The Tuhi Centre for the Arts is positioned rather inconspicuously behind an ugly collection of shops and businesses in the Pakaranga region of Manukau. From its many purposes and aims Te Tuhi is most notable for its robust and exciting exhibitions programme. A quick dive into its archive of previous exhibitions reveals a wealth of diverse and challenging art. It is a veritable diamond in the rough.
The gallery is currently hosting an exhibition of new works by Auckland-based artist Matt Henry. User Friendly is an installation of nine paintings across three gallery spaces.

Henry divides and sites his work so as to make bold interventions to the space. Playing with the conventions of exhibition display and art production, his series mimics and references modern consumable items. The unconventional positioning of the canvases further distorts their roles and the objects – at the whim of considerations such as height and juxtaposition – morph into their domestic doppelgängers before your eyes. A canvas mimicking the 16:9 ratio of a flat screen television is hung identically to its functional counterparts; ditto the long Untitled horizontal 600 x 1800 (Titanium White) as a radiator (the lack of romance in Henry’s titling gloriously enhances the effect).

But there is more than mere optical-trickery at work here. The paintings are sleek, attractive objects in their own right. Henry creates smooth surface textures through a meticulous application of acrylic paint. In doing so he references minimalist aesthetics as well as imbuing these signifiers with a resonating visual appeal.
The three boxy rooms that the exhibition spans offer a perfect opportunity for comparative and complementary groupings. In a similar manner to the methodology of artist Roni Horn (successive repetitions, alterations and arrangements), Henry has utilised the space to perform a series of “about-faces”. Through a recalibration of similar forms, he ekes out a sense of immutability in the space itself and hints at the potentiality inherent in the construct of arrangement.

Henry’s is an understated and intelligent commentary. One that is drawn as much to reasoning about the phenomenon of design as it is to art production itself. It may seems contradictory to suggest that such strong visual statements offer subtleties, but the deliberated manner of their dissemination and their collective muteness ground them.

I had an opportunity earlier today to talk to Matt about his work.

Todd Atticus: Your practice blurs the line between painting and sculpture. What arena do you see your work inhabiting?

Matt Henry: I don’t really look at my practice from a discipline area, just as the work references – or blurs – the histories of art and design. I believe this is primarily because much of my interest lies outside of the art historical, somewhere in the semiotics of certain forms and their attendant knowledge or values in a contemporary context.

TA: For me, the objects both fuse and betray any linkage between what they gesture toward (domestic consumable goods, furniture etc.) and what they are in themselves (art objects). They behave separate of art historical principles that would otherwise engulf their purpose. Do you see the gallery space itself playing a role in the experience of these objects?

MH: The gallery can perhaps be seen as a stage where the objects I elude to (the consumable item, appliance) might betray themselves (or their utility) and exist in a purely aesthetic form. The gallery asks no more of them. This makes the gallery (as well as the discipline of painting) interesting as a point about which the emphasis shifts from function toward form and language.

TA: I find the conventions of the gallery space provide an opportunity to assess under different terms. This removal from the hubris of reality suspends objects in a vacuum, allowing them to be contemplated as separate. Under this form of aesthetic scrutiny and transformation, your paintings display their real-life counterparts as foreign bodies; sleek, unassuming, yet obstinately alluring as to be almost fetishist in quality.

MH: Minimalism in design can be quite brutal. It can also be contemplative and meditative. The appeal of minimalism to the average marketing person might be to play up to notions of exclusivity or even propriety. It can be very conservative in a funny way. The form and language of modernism within the vernacular of consumer culture and within art presents a transgression of sorts.

TA: The gallery space – itself a minimalist venture – can singularly cleanse and repel. By removing all signals of authorship or individuality, the effect can seem either universal or alien.

In a way, the pieces in User Friendly have this universal quality: they are shorthand for accepted entities. How mindful are you of those other universals that you are exhibiting alongside? Plug sockets? Light switches? They seem to enter the fray under similar terms.
MH: There is a universalism in the notion – a wall is a wall is a wall – and a lot of interior design and architecture are themselves exercises in minimalism. You could argue that plugs, sockets and fittings are detritus; annoying distractions. I’ve always accepted them as part of the gallery, often playing-off of them compositionally.

Occasionally I’ve photographed work in my home. The effect of this context on the reading of an object is exaggerated, sometimes delightful. I’ve been apprehensive at times to give some work over to the gallery. Sometimes those light switches and fittings give it back.

The ‘character’ of a space is something I’m quick to exploit, and most galleries have it in abundance. I have to admit I prefer more intimate galleries with volumes that approximate domestic or office spaces.

TA: You are sharing the gallery space with another work at Te Tehi: Lisa Crowley’s The Reading Hall. It is a complimenting arrangement: Crowley’s films make enquiries to architectural character, systems of display and gently comment about its subject through the very material of the work’s construction [she captures the movements and intricacies of a 1950’s linotype machine using a 16mm film and documents the contemporary use of Russia’s Vyborg Library in a digital format].

MH: It’s an interesting pairing. They both appear to consider language and processes that are, to some extent, obsolete.

The very physical, ‘slow’ and contemplative process of my painting, as well as playing with history, is intrinsic to the creative process and to the thinking involved. Very much at odds with the speed of contemporary media.

Matt Henry: User Friendly at Te Tehi Centre for the Arts is open until 6th November 2011.

Image courtesy of the artist and Starkwhite, Auckland


Hurrell, John. (2011, Oct 19). Matt Henry at Te Tuhi [Web log]. Retrieved from http://www.eyecontactsite.com/2011/10/henry-at-te-tuhi

Matt Henry at Te Tuhi
Matt Henry: User Friendly, 24 September - 6 November 2011
Te Tuhi Centre for the Arts, Auckland

Matt Henry is known for a number of shows at Starkwhite where he played on the morphological connections between minimalist sculpture or painting and architectural fittings and household appliance design - using a super fastidious industrial finish, ‘constructivist’ saturated colour and very precisely built stretchers.
In this Te Tuhi installation he employs three rooms that together enclose a fourth, using strategically positioned coloured works in those spaces to cross- connect - and that room providing a chair and reading table of pertinent literature about the exhibitions.
The first room is visible through the glass doors that approach this suite of exhibiting spaces at the left hand end of Te Tuhi. Let’s call it the ‘first white room’ for at head height it has a white rectangular painting outside the glass doors about two thirds of a stretcher width out - and level on the inside with two versions of itself (butted very tightly together), the same distance in. The stretchers are double layered, a thick back panel supporting a front thinner one that is deliberately not flush at the top and bottom edges but slightly under.
The works together tease out the visual dynamics of reflection, for if you stand in the right position within the first room ghostly traces on the glass hover around what is behind it. From the other ‘outside’ of the glass doors, looking through them into the galleries, on the opposite wall low down is a long panel. This seems to mimic the length from the outer left hand canvas edge (in the foyer) through the glass to the other outer right hand edge of the twin panel on the inside (in the gallery). In other words it alludes to the entire horizontal combination shown in the top photograph.
Inside this ‘white’ room from its corner we can look across to the second gallery. Let’s call that the ‘second red room’. It has two red works and one black, all hung low, like the long white painting that could be a heater. Again these works are sandwiched panels, but this time absolutely flush at all edges except for the back canvas that extends downwards for about a fifth of the height of the front one. The red double width work (see image #4) has this downward extension only on the left hand side.
The black work (that is behind us if we are facing out) can be seen in the distance from the ‘third black room’ opposite across the reading space (darkened in the photos but not during the show) if we were standing over there. We in turn from here can see a red painting that seems to match the red work this side.(Look at photos #5 and #8). However, when we walk into this third room we find the back panels extending upwards - not down. We can’t tell until we move towards them and get close enough to see the faintly shadowed horizontal edges of the front canvases near the top.
In the last room the long black canvas is hung high. It is not a sandwich layer but a single thickness. It is the same width as the low red work in the ‘second room’ that has a back panel dropping down on its left. (Photograph #4 again)
What Henry is doing here is playing with logic and memory the way other artists like Bochner, Lewitt, Stella and Johns have done, but making it site specific so you have to bodily engage with the space to discover the careful alignments. You have to consider what is hidden around corners and what is lined up to be seen from certain locations, and why - in terms of the bigger picture, the totality of the show. Plus there is the aspect of spatial extension through colour and tone, its experiential nature and how you often perceive areas to be bigger than what they actually are.
And while I would have liked to see all the power points and distracting humidity recorders removed from the space - they’re so irritating (but that would have been an expensive undertaking) - Henry succeeds in getting the intricacies of his planning across. There is a witty spatial symmetry using position, distance and sight that duplicates the use of reflection featured in the show’s entrance. A wonderful, truly exceptional, exhibition.

John Hurrell


Wilson, Michael. (2009, May 6). Artforum.com Critics’ Picks [Web log], Retrieved from http://artforum.com/archive/id=22738

Artforum.com Critics’ Picks
Matt Henry
Starkwhite, 510 Karangahape Road, April 16 – May 16

Making elegant use of two adjacent mirror-image rooms, Matt Henry’s “Doppelgänger” presents a tidy cluster of new paintings and objects that riff on the visual similarity of contemporary high-tech product design and Judd-era sculptural Minimalism. In his first solo exhibition at the K Road staple, the native New Zealander blurs function into form, abstracting home-cinema gear to produce a set of mute postmodern totems with the hermetic gleam of John McCracken slabs. Placing three small MDF and Formica-veneer boxes on the floor of one room and a larger black block in the other, the young artist completes this knowingly spare installation with a pair of monochrome canvases, one nearly black and tinted with zinc white, the other a high-key electric green, glazed and framed in dark wood.
In his 2007 outing at the Fishbowl in New Plymouth, Henry exploited that gallery’s architectural peculiarity (originally a garage, it was converted into a sealed storefront via the addition of a street-facing glass wall) to amplify his project’s blend of bold geometry with wry domestic references. At Starkwhite, he exercises a similar strategy, responding to the interior’s polished serenity with a tongue-in-cheek homage to the culture of high-def surround sound. “Doppelgänger” sees the artist poke subtle fun at consumerist status anxiety by aligning high-street commodities with more rarefied goods. He also contributes a minor but engaging—and seamlessly realized—subset to the history of aesthetic cross-pollination between the formal and the functional, further teasing us with the fact that we can’t always tell one from the other.

Michael Wilson


Hurrell, John. (2010, 24 June). Realistic Sculptures or Abstract Paintings? [Web log].
Retrieved from http://eyecontactsite.com/2010/06/realistic-sculptures-or-abstract-paintings

Realistic Sculptures or Abstract Paintings?

Matt Henry: Contraflow
STARKWHITE, Auckland, 21 June - 17 July 2010

In his first show in Starkwhite!s big downstairs gallery Matt Henry continues his characteristic teasing out of similarities between minimalist abstraction and high-tech heating or home entertainment audio/visual equipment. This new precise installation tightly references various aspects of the Starkwhite room whilst also referring to fashionably elegant consumerist products that are coincidentally similar to the works of Judd, Baer or McCracken.
To do this - through meticulous positioning and the works! measurements - he alludes to certain features of the room!s architecture and its trimmings, like skirting boards, power-points, a fire alarm and the thin grouting lines that traverse the floor. The paintings in some ways are like furniture, having specially designed features reminiscent of the hinged flaps of dining tables that can extend their horizontal planar surface. Some of the square works have differently coloured, lower rectangular strips.
Also the sides of the linen stretchers, their thicknesses, and the way the paint curves over the edges of the front plane, are crucial elements. So too are the negative spaces between the works, they often being repeated modules based on a reiterated square canvas unit. This sets up a pulse that hints that the entire room wall surface and ceiling is a gridded matrix.
All Henry!s painted (or unpainted) linen panels are obsessively crafted, from the fastidious construction of the stretcher and the way it is fastened to the gallery wall, to the very controlled covering of the surface with acrylic or size. In fact there is a double-binding hermeticism about the project that hints no other space might ever be appropriate to contain these almost holy objects, not only through its different proportions but also through its lesser purity and inevitably inadequate pristine cleanliness. Something perhaps impossible to attain.
The title Contraflow also alludes to purity, a Modernist going against the Postmodernist grain, a determined but futile counter-charge using realism and a consumer narrative as a ploy.
Upstairs in one of the small Starkwhite galleries overlooking K! Rd, is a suite of eight much more chromatically buoyant Henry works based on cassette shapes. These are hung in a row and don!t refer to the room at all - apart from the whiteness of its wall - only their own proportions, sides and vertical thicknesses. They use cleverly isolated strips of vibrant colour to seduce, but they are combined with nuanced internal placement and a collectively driving finger-snapping rhythm.
These gorgeous pocket-sized paintings, and the urbane installation downstairs, are extremely accomplished projects. In my view, easily the best shows on in Auckland right now.

John Hurrell


Phillips, Bruce E. (2007, Dec 8). Perfection Issues [Web log]. Retrieved from http://reviewrepository.blogspot.com/2007_12_02_archive.html

Perfection Issues
First published in The Taranaki Daily News, Saturday, 8 December 2007

Art is a language without a dictionary. This is due to the fact that it's actually impossible to have one fixed meaning with art – since it is equally fair game for both the artist and viewer to make sense of art how they wish. However, this hasn’t stopped artists trying to communicate beyond cultural boundaries or attempting to uncover the true essence of the world. In this discussion you cannot overlook the importance of modernist abstraction of the 20th century since it was the exactly the sincere attempt of such artists to attain the essence of all things which conversely revealed that such a pursuit is unattainable. From the 1920s De Stijl movement and their reductive pursuit of turning impressionistic landscapes into black lined grids and flat planes of primary colour - in order to derive a universal skeleton structure of the world. To the specific objects of the 1960s minimalists who attempted to create the perfect relationship between raw industrial materials and geometric forms in relation to an objects surrounding environment – with the purpose of grasping the essential understanding of ones physical being in the world. The legacy of modernist abstraction has attempted to attain perfection via the use of geometry with the understanding that mathematics and science is the one true undeniable universal language. What they did not question however, is that even geometry is riddled with history, cultural significance and is open to many different understandings and symbolisms. In our current age geometry is mostly associated with corporate logos, industrial design and synonymous with power and wealth. However, despite the disillusionment of modernist utopianism a fertile legacy has remained for contemporary artists to explore the complexity of geometric abstraction and its slippery meanings.

One such artist who has positioned himself in the thick of this artistic discourse is local artist Matt Henry - currently exhibiting at the Fishbowl gallery. The Fishbowl is located in a regular domestic garage that has been converted into an art gallery sealed behind a glass wall so that you view the art from the street. Henry’s exhibition entitled Fresh Hoki at the Fishbowl deals with the makeshift context of the Fishbowl gallery while also toying with and unsettling the serious pursuit of geometric abstraction and minimalism.

Fresh Hoki at the Fishbowl consists of two oil and canvas paintings, a section of varnished concrete floor, a black painted window, a1kg block of cheese and a wall mounted bottle opener. The installation appears to hinge on one painting of a yellow square on white background entitled Homage to the ZBP1165. Obviously the result of laborious layers of oil paint achieving a pristine surface almost the quality of porcelain. The brilliant canary yellow beams like a headlight upon its white ground and acts as a definitive focal point to the installation as you peer into the Fishbowl from the street. However, as the title hints to us there is more going on in this painting than the ritualistic application of paint and a visually stunning yellow square. Homage to the ZBP1165 sounds like the model design number of some industrial product suggesting that the painting is a representation of a much loved appliance. The unconventional waist high hanging of the work also indicates that the painting is an abstract depiction of a domestic appliance. One that is valued for its hardedge modern design - judging on the paintings attention to precision and proportion.

Further domestic reference is made in neighbouring works. A readymade wall mounted bottle opener is positioned at the correct functional height in order to open a beer bottle with just the right amount of leverage. A significant residue of Stella Artois bottle caps are strewn below – evidence of a night on the booze. Not just any boozing mind you – this beer denotes a certain demographic since not everyone can afford the extra few dollars to purchase such a brew. Or even feel socially comfortable with the fashion associated it. On the opposite wall is a standard supermarket 1kg block of cheese. By either tinny luck or ridiculously divine fate the cheese fits perfectly into the cavity of the garage’s exposed studs.

Throughout this installation Henry mixes the common and profane with the quasi sacred and profound. The result pushes and pulls our understanding of the work from contemplative appreciation of Zen-like perfection to humorous in-jokes and serious art historical references. The significance of these inherent contradictions draws our attention the problematic slippages that occur by using art as a visual language, the cultural subjectivity involved in ascribing value to objects and how this reinforces social hierarchy. This exhibition qualifies the Fishbowl as New Plymouth’s most innovative alternative contemporary art space and hopefully this standard continues – it is rumoured that there will be more exhibitions over the summer period.

The exhibition is viewable from the sidewalk in the weekends only from 10am-3pm and closes on the 23rd of December 2007. The Fishbowl is located at 31 Young Street, New Plymouth.

Bruce E. Phillips


Hurrell, John. (2009, Sep 11). So cool you could burn yourself [Web log]
Retrieved from http://eyecontactartforum.blogspot.com/2009/09/so-cool-you-could-burn-youself.html

So Cool You Could Burn Yourself

Matt Henry: Flatline
Starkwhite, 7 September – 3 October 2009

Matt Henry’s two paintings in Starkwhite’s exhibiting annex out the back are ultra meticulously made and uber fastidiously installed. They tease us by oscillating back and forth in our minds between early modernist abstraction and consumer luxury items such as rectangular plasma screens and pristine oil heaters. There is an understated humour in the site with unnegotiable wall fittings like light switches and a fire alarm that get successfully incorporated anyhow - by being balanced with the paintings. All the placement (signage and artworks) is carefully considered. Nothing smack dab in the middle.

The black rectangle, hovering on a white canvas, is at eye height and draws you in like a screen – possibly just after the closing credits have finished (the end of art perhaps?). And conveniently near the fire alarm, a hot orange oblong you could almost warm your shins and knees against: great for powercuts on icy frosty mornings.

The Starkwhite room is smaller than the images above suggest, and the work more intimate than you might think, with its emphasis on commodity fetishism which it critiques but knowingly perpetuates. It is also very much about Henry’s manual skills at crafting immaculate surfaces and razor-sharp edges, and elegant positioning.

Henry is part of a school of RMIT (David Thomas influenced) conceptualist, neo-minimalist abstraction that we are seeing more and more of here in Aotearoa. He is exploring an interesting area that seems based on the display rooms of Harvey Normans. Images of perfect blindness and music of impeccable silence.

John Hurrell


Huddleston, Charlotte. (ed.) (2008). Mostly Harmless: A Performance Series, New Zealand, Govett-Brewster Art Gallery.
Matt Henry: Breakdown
Sunday 20 August

The terms of behaviour breakdown – the memory of a Matt Henry performance

Bruce E. Phillips

It is often taken for granted in everyday experience that certain spaces, places and events have prescribed behaviours, expected actions and a common knowledge of proceedings. This is not always the case with performance art. Performance art could be seen as locating an uncertain frame of reference. Being a hybridised media viewed within the context of visual art but borrowing aspects from theatre, dance, music, religious ritual and sometimes adopting a blurred distinction from daily activity, how a performance begins and ends, and the particulars about how one should experience performance art is completely open. Since it does not adhere to one discipline there is no steeped tradition through which to mediate its form. For this reason attending a performance can sometimes be an awkward experience for the viewer. Unless one is familiar with a particular gallery’s house style or have prior knowledge of what to expect, it is difficult for the visitor to know how to behave. Therefore, performance art is an apt media for exploring the terms of behaviour since it both disrupts conventional conduct and involves the display of it.

This became evident to me when I visited the Govett-Brewster one Sunday afternoon for Matt Henry’s performance entitled Breakdown. On this occasion the narrow rectangular gallery space had been transformed into a type of makeshift theatre. At one end of the room there were a pile of red square cushions and a random arrangement of blue stools that were used as temporary seating. The opposite end of the gallery in which a lounge was set up took on the function of a stage. The lounge consisted of a vacuum cleaner, telephone, white woollen rug, an elegant 1950s-style wooden arm chair with finely woven swabs and a modular wooden veneer shelving unit containing two high-end turntables, amp and speakers. Entering the gallery with a brisk and overly decisive stride Henry (a man of slender physique, tidy short dark hair, cleanly shaven, wearing black framed glasses and dressed in a fitted black sports jacket, black T-shirt, Chuck-Taylor sneakers and blue jeans, a satchel slung over the shoulder and two records tucked firmly under his right arm) has calculated his entry precisely (or so it would seem) so not to be stalled by loitering gallery visitors. From sidewalk to stage in one action without interruption he takes seat in the armchair with his back to the audience - who startled by his entrance finish their conversations in a whisper and find a seat of their own.

Seated attentively Henry pulls from his satchel a pen and paper with which he begins to studiously make notes, taking pause only every few seconds to study his surroundings. He then rises, adheres the paper to the wall with gaffer tape and returns to his seat. Standing up seconds later, un-sleeves his records, handling them cautiously by the edges, places one on each turntable and proceeds to play a track.
A turbulent trumpet cry peals through the gallery followed by a euphoric torrent of snare drum coupled with a velvety dance of double base. The jazz fired a charge of life throughout the gallery, colouring the sterile white chamber. The audience, toes tapping and heads nodding to the perturbed but exuberant composition. Henry, rising suddenly, selfishly deprives the audience of hearing the remainder of the track and moves the needle back to the beginning. Returning to his arm chair and reconfiguring his posture, his eyes are trained on the record in captivated stare. He rises from the chair, this time adjusting the angle of the speakers slightly. Taking his seat again, perhaps to analyse his new arrangement, only to rise moments later for yet another adjustment.

This process is repeated by Henry numerous times with every body movement carefully reserved. Although, at times displaying fleeting moments of an anxious fidget which he appears to tame with composure. Each new object adjustment seems to be some attempt in which to enhance the sound in some minuscule way. The preoccupation with the sound system is only disrupted by intermittent reactions to listen to the receiver of an unplugged telephone as if expecting it to have a phantom dial tone. Meanwhile, there is a slight discomfort in the audience as with each interruption they are denied hearing the entire track.

The pensive demeanour that Henry maintains progressively degenerates after each new alteration. Unsatisfied by the speaker placement Henry’s attention is drawn to increments on the surface of the records. From his satchel he extracts, handling only by fingertips and with steady surgeon like grace, cleaning equipment including carbon fibre brushes and cleaning fluids. The domestic vacuum cleaner is also put to use on the vinyl, making certain no particle will remain to inhibit audio quality. While rearranging the sound system once more he casually starts to sip on the cleaning fluid as if it were a common habit. It takes a moment for the audience to acknowledge with smirks, smiles and the occasional chuckle at his odd substance abuse.

Through adjustments on the turntable the music takes on a haunted chord. The trumpet now evokes the sound of convulsing and murmuring demonic entities. Reclining in the chair for another sound analysis Henry’s intoxicated attuned ear identifies another scruple. The arm chair swabs are now removed and placed under the turntables which are transported from the shelving to the floor. In a chilling spate Henry now deals to the chair and shelving which have no functional in use in this new sound system configuration. Drawing a hammer from his satchel and with a slight sadistic grin Henry calmly but with considerable force, strikes the chair’s limbs until the structure collapses. The shelving for some reason escapes this violent fate and is rather appropriately dissected by removing the screws and the wood stacked neatly against the wall.

The culminating scene pictures Henry robed in the white wool rug knees to chest and taking the occasional swig of cleaning fluid whilst rocking involuntary on the floor. The performance ends by Henry’s only spoken words: ‘that’s it’, as he steps to the side of the set. His announcement shatters the persona which he has painstakingly created over the past forty minutes. Now that the performance is bracketed by time the audience is given cue to chat among themselves, explore the residue and exit the liminal vacuum that the artist created.

Music credits:

Lonely woman
Composer: Ornette Coleman
From the album: Old and new dreams
Performers: Don Cherry, Dewey Redman, Charlie Haden, Ed Blackwell, 1979.

Rios negroes
Composer: Lester Bowie
From the album: The great pretender
Performers: Lester Bowie, Donald Smith, Fred Williams, Phillip Wilson, 1981.

Oh, how the ghost sings
Composers: Lester Bowie, Donald Smith, Fred Williams, Phillip Wilson, Manfred Eicher, Martin Wieland
From the album: The great pretender
Performers: Lester Bowie, Donald Smith, Fred Williams, Phillip Wilson, Manfred Eicher, Martin Wieland, 1981.


Hurrell, John. (2009, April 24). Double vision, double vision [Web log].
Retrieved from http://eyecontactartforum.blogspot.com/2009/04/double-vision-double-vision.html

Double Vision, Double Vision

Matt Henry: Doppelgänger
Starkwhite, 16 April - 14 May 2009

This exhibition by New Plymouth artist Matt Henry teases out the confusing similarities between minimalist sculpture and elegant sound systems, or monochromatic minimalist painting (under glass) and flat plasma screens. These ambiguous geometric forms are presented in the two upstairs rooms that overlook K’ Rd, approximately mirroring of each other in their placement within the adjacent spaces.

These pristine box-or-slablike sculptures on the floor have a remarkable finish. They look sharply crisp, each edge or plane of their form looking almost hallucinatory in their hyper-reality. More perfect than perfect in their formality.

The leadless ‘sound systems’ are accompanied by a painting/sculpture hybrid where painted, glass covered canvas panels are float-mounted and framed. In one room the panel is a fluro lime green that has associations with outdoor TV sport broadcasts. In the other, the colouration of that panel is a very dark grey. You could confuse it with black caught in a raking light.

While they look vaguely like plasma screens, they are really thick and clunky in comparison. Closer to paintings that ridicule the presentational formats of ‘sensitive’ painting by being deliberately gross in their proportion and frame colour, they become bizarre fetish objects, items devoid of function that look store bought and not obviously ‘art’. They look impressively expensive.

Probably these works are best in a home where their ambiguity is most pronounced. At Starkwhite they are clearly ‘art’ and highly aesthetic. No one is likely to go looking for the missing remote control in the gallery space. In a house surrounded by other domestic accoutrements on the other hand, the box forms – not the wall components - would throw you. They are harder perhaps to worship as surrogate status symbols, and obviously mischievous.

John Hurrell


Press Release Archive


Matt Henry: Structural Relief Te Tuhi. (2014, Nov 15). Retrieved from http://www.tetuhi.org.nz/exhibitions/exhibitiondetails.php?id=150

Matt Henry: Structural Relief (Te Tuhi)
Te Tuhi Project Wall, 15 November 2014 - 15 February 2015

For the Te Tuhi Project Wall, Auckland-based artist Matt Henry has generated a new work titled Structural relief (Te Tuhi) that consists of an arrangement of white stretched canvases on a white wall. Some of the canvases have been inset into the wall itself, while others are hung conventionally on its surface, both hanging methods relying on the play of light and shadow to define the internal and external forms. For this project, Henry uses painting as a departure point to explore relationships between architecture, art, and design. This exploration can be seen through the arrangement of the canvases and their engagement with the internal structure of the wall, mirroring the logic of the architecture within which the paintings are housed.
With that in mind comes the visible form the canvases take as a whole. Their presence is minimal, only asserting themselves with their strong lines. However, these lines don't seem to enforce a differentiation between the wall and themselves. This relationship brings into question the presence of a painting in a room, not as an image or a surface, but as something that might become part of the architecture in which it is placed.


Matt Henry and Timothy Chapman, Silian Rail. (2015, April 29). Retrieved from http://rm103.org/?p=1043

Silian Rail
Opening Wednesday 29 April, 6pm

Exhibition runs until Saturday 16 May 2015
RM presents Silian Rail, a conceptually driven painting project by Matt Henry and Timothy Chapman. Showcasing a playful rivalry, the exhibition documents a period of conversation and production, which considers the notion of painting and the materials of its production within a hierarchical and semiotic framework. Exploring surface through the structure of painting, Chapman’s works document a sculptural fabrication process. Setting out to cast a stretched canvas in woven composites, various preparations and experiments are presented as objects in their own right. Similarly Henry’s works reproduce or frame the reductive notion of painting as object and material. Executed in a perfunctory manner the chosen materials invite a conversation that is at once prosaic and poetic.


High Fidelity, Nov 16 – Dec 14, Starkwhite. (2013, Nov 16). Retrieved from https://ocula.com/art-galleries/starkwhite/exhibitions/high-fidelity/

Matt Henry: High Fidelity
16 November – 14 December 2013

Starkwhite is pleased to present ‘High Fidelity’ by Matt Henry from 16 November to 14 December 2013.
In his first solo show at Starkwhite, Henry assembled a small group of paintings and sculptures reflecting his interest in art, design and consumerism. Installed in two galleries, each the mirror image of the other, the exhibition played on the notion of the doppelgänger, exploring the formal similarities and interconnectedness of art and design through the minimalist aesthetic.
Utilizing the same gallery space, Henry presents a new suite of paintings that engage with the legacy of minimalism and design. Concentrating on the picture frame as an integral element in the ‘design’ of his paintings, the works in ‘High Fidelity’ focus on the formal and mimetic possibilities of the frame, rather than the frame as embellishment or protection.
Henry’s minimalist-like paintings characteristically subvert conventions of display and construction in order to play upon references to non-objective art and minimalist product design. Willingly inviting uncertainty to the reading or perception of the work, Henry describes his practise as an “incongruous mix of the languages of 20th century abstraction, conceptualism and 21st century design.”
Tracing the process of commodification and semiotic re-coding, the works play upon the contextual openness of reductive or minimal art. Exploring the origins, histories and contradictions imbedded in the minimalist idiom, Henry’s investigation endeavours to decode and record the vagaries of these forms and their shifting social/political value.
Matt Henry graduated from Melbourne’s RMIT University with an MFA in 2008. Recent solo shows and representation in group/thematic exhibitions include: Elsewhere, Dunedin Public Art Gallery (2012-13); From the series 16:9, Sydney Non Objective (2012); Metaphoria, St Paul Street Gallery (2012); Melbourne Art Fair (2012); Vernacular Painting, Starkwhite (2011); User Friendly, Te Tuhi Centre for the Arts (2011); ART HK11, Hong Kong (2011); Contraflow, Starkwhite (2010); ART HK10, Hong Kong (2010); Fahrenheit, Govett-Brewster Art Gallery (2009); Doppelgänger, Starkwhite (2009); Living Together, Michael Hirschfeld Gallery, City Gallery Wellington (2007); Activating Korea, Govett-Brewster Art Gallery (2007); Mostly Harmless: a performance series, Govett-Brewster Art Gallery (2006); Bloom, High Street Project, Christchurch (2004); and View, Govett-Brewster Art Gallery (2004).
Located in New Zealand on Auckland’s Karangahape Road, Starkwhite presents a programme of artists’ projects, solo shows, independently curated exhibitions and occasional forays into new music and other interdisciplinary practices. Starkwhite also represents artists from New Zealand, Asia and the Pacific-rim.

Please contact the gallery for further information and images:

Starkwhite
510 Karangahape Road
Auckland, New Zealand
Tel. +64 9 3070703
starkwhite@starkwhite.co.nz
http://www.starkwhite.blogspot.com/
http://www.starkwhite.co.nz/


Matt Henry: User Friendly, Te Tuhi Centre for the Arts, Auckland, New Zealand. (2011, Sep 24).
Retrieved from http://www.tetuhi.org.nz/exhibitions/exhibitiondetails.php?id=103

Matt Henry: User Friendly
24 September 2011 - 06 November 2011

Auckland-based artist Matt Henry creates meticulously painted minimal paintings that act as hybrid objects. His paintings often replicate, in fastidious detail, the proportions and slick surface quality of domestic appliances or humble architectural fixtures. Key to his practice, is an investigation of early 20th century abstraction in art and minimalist influenced industrial design. Within this enquiry Henry blurs both art and design to consider how aesthetic idealism and commodification are now intrinsically bound.
For the exhibition User Friendly, Henry continues this artistic enquiry by exhibiting a new series of paintings that intervene both boldly and surreptitiously throughout three gallery spaces. However, in this body of work Henry has created more ambiguous objects. Crucial to creating this ambiguity is his considered response to the site. Here the paintings are placed in sympathetic relationship to themselves and the given architecture. As one walks through the galleries certain qualities of individual paintings and the interior space are revealed. Variations in size, colour, orientation and height of installation all act to direct an experience of the space. In the gallery entrance three white paintings create optical trickery by falsifying reflections through the glass doors. The other two galleries feature inverse combinations of red and black paintings that emphasise the parallel positioning and seemingly indistinguishable differences of these two spaces. The paintings themselves are hand painted with numerous coats to the extent that they appear to be cast in porcelain. Their dimensions reflect that of electrical casing, kitchen cabinetry and one that mimics the 16:9 ratio of a flat screen television. By blurring their resemblance as different types of desirable objects, Henry meddles with the ascribed value of the minimalist aesthetic - to both question and capitalise on the subjective systems of cultural and financial worth at play.


Consumer appliances inspire Auckland artist. (2011, Sep 16). Retrieved from http://www.creativenz.govt.nz/news/consumer-appliances-inspire-auckland-artist

Consumer appliances inspire Auckland artist
16 Sep 2011

Inspired by everyday utilitarian objects, Matt Henry's new exhibition User Friendly will open at Te Tuhi Centre for the Arts on 24 September.

Matt Henry is based in Auckland and User Friendly is his first solo exhibition in a public gallery.
In User Friendly, abstract paintings mimic household appliances and consumer goods, presenting the painting itself as a desired commodity, ready to be consumed.

Ovens, cabinetry, flat screen TV's and other high end designer appliances are filtered through Matt Henry's minimalist vision in a new exhibition which challenges the viewers assumptions about consumerism.
"In a way, Henry is reclaiming modernism" says Bruce Philips, Te Tuhi's curator. "Popular design for high end goods such as hi-fi stereos and flat screen TV's have taken their inspiration from abstraction and Henry is bringing that appropriation back to physical paintings."

The canvas and its surface is central to Henry's work. Explains Phillips, "He goes to meticulous lengths to make pristine surfaces that barely resemble paintings, although much time has been put into the painting of them. The painting materials are so transformed that they resemble powder coated steel or laminated Formica, just like you would see in your kitchen appliance. "

The placement of the paintings are of particular significance to Henry's exhibitions. The works are often situated close to the ground around the same height you would find appliances or cabinetry in your home. Utilizing three of Te Tuhi's gallery spaces, Henry prepared a scale model of the gallery to ensure the works would be placed and viewed from a variety of vantages.

Henry is even happy if you don't appear at first to notice any of his works as you enter the gallery. Says Henry "some paintings are hardly visible as you enter; they are subtle and camouflaged, but they will reveal themselves to the viewer as they take the time to look through."
Matt Henry is represented by Starkwhite gallery in Auckland.

User Friendly opens on 24 September and runs until 6 November. Te Tuhi Centre for the Arts is situated at 13 Reeves Rd in Pakuranga Auckland.


Vernacular Painting, April 18 – May 14, Starkwhite. (2011, April 18). Retrieved from https://ocula.com/art-galleries/starkwhite/exhibitions/vernacular-painting/

Matt Henry: Vernacular Painting
18 April - 14 May 2011

Starkwhite is pleased to present Vernacular Painting by Matt Henry from 18 April to 14 May 2011.
Utilising the domestic character of Starkwhite's first floor galleries, Henry's installation, Vernacular Painting engages with the instability of language and content common to the histories of art and design.

Sited amidst the contexts of the white cube and the domestic interior, Henry's minimalist-like paintings play upon slippages created between the pieces and the gallery's architecture. Deliberately inviting uncertainty in the reading or perception of the work, Henry describes the pieces in Vernacular Painting as an "incongruous mix of the languages of 20th century abstraction, conceptualism and 21st century design."

Henry's interest in painting traces the process of commodification and semiotic re-coding that occurs through the appropriation and use of minimalism in contemporary design. Loaded with visual puns, the work plays upon the 'contextual openness' of reductive or minimal art. Exploring the origins, histories and contradictions imbedded in certain idioms, Henry's investigation endeavours to decode and record the vagaries of these forms.

Matt Henry graduated from Melbourne's RMIT University with an MFA in 2008. Recent solo shows and representation in group/thematic exhibitions include: ART HK10, Hong Kong (2010); Contraflow, Starkwhite (2010); Fahrenheit, Govett-Brewster Art Gallery, New Plymouth (2009); Doppelgänger, Starkwhite (2009); Living Together, Michael Hirschfeld Gallery, City Gallery Wellington (2007); Activating Korea, Govett-Brewster Art Gallery, New Plymouth (2007); Mostly Harmless: a performance series, Govett-Brewster Art Gallery, New Plymouth (2006); View, Govett-Brewster Art Gallery, New Plymouth (2004); and Bloom,High Street Project, Christchurch (2004).

Located in New Zealand on Auckland's Karangahape Road, Starkwhite presents a programme of artists' projects, solo shows, independently curated exhibitions and occasional forays into new music and other interdisciplinary practices. Starkwhite also represents artists from New Zealand, Asia and the Pacific-rim.

For further information on this exhibition and images please contact:

Starkwhite
510 Karangahape Road
Auckland
New Zealand
Tel. +64 9 3070703
starkwhite@starkwhite.co.nz
http://www.starkwhite.blogspot.com/


Contraflow, June 21 - July 17, Starkwhite. (2010, June, 21). Retrieved from http://www.re-title.com/exhibitions/archive_starkwhite8745.asp

Matt Henry: Contraflow
21 June – 17 July 2010

Starkwhite is pleased to present Contraflow by Matt Henry from 21 June to 17 July 2010.

Occupying the downstairs gallery of Starkwhite, Henry’s installation of modular, multi-paneled canvas paintings examine various idioms shared between art and design. Referencing a modernist/minimalist aesthetic, the works are intended to invite moments of flux between representational and abstract readings. Michael Wilson describes this as blurring function into form with “paintings and objects that riff on the visual similarity of contemporary high-tech product design and Judd-era sculptural Minimalism”. ARTFORUM, critics’ picks, 5 April 2009

Using particular proportions, scale and placement, otherwise 'concrete' forms take on another likeness. It is this transcription of everyday objects, or simulatory likeness, which invites the re-valuation or exchange of certain forms, content and meaning.

Activating the tensions that exist between a formalist approach, conceptual content, and referential readings, Contraflow attempts to examine the polemics around a particular visual language; the symbiotic history of art and design; and the contextual complexity and subtlety of such distinctions.

Matt Henry graduated from Melbourne's RMIT University with an MFA in 2008. Recent solo shows and representation in group/thematic exhibitions include: ART HK10, Hong Kong (2010); Fahrenheit, Govett-Brewster Art Gallery, New Plymouth (2009); Doppelgänger, Starkwhite (2009); Living Together, Michael Hirschfeld Gallery, City Gallery Wellington (2007); Activating Korea, Govett-Brewster Art Gallery, New Plymouth (2007); Mostly Harmless: a performance series, Govett-Brewster Art Gallery, New Plymouth (2006); View, Govett-Brewster Art Gallery, New Plymouth (2004); and Bloom, High Street Project, Christchurch (2004).

Located in New Zealand on Auckland’s Karangahape Road, Starkwhite presents a programme of artists’ projects, solo shows, independently curated exhibitions and occasional forays into new music and other interdisciplinary practices. Starkwhite also represents artists from New Zealand, Asia and the Pacific-rim.

Please contact the gallery for further information and images:

Starkwhite
510 Karangahape Road
Auckland
New Zealand
Tel. +64 9 3070703
starkwhite@starkwhite.co.nz
http://www.starkwhite.blogspot.com/
http://www.starkwhite.co.nz/


Doppelgänger, April 16 – May 16, Starkwhite. (2009, April 16). Retrieved from http://www.starkwhite.co.nz/exhibitions/#/matt-henry-doppelg/

Matt Henry: Doppelgänger
16 April – 16 May 2009

Starkwhite is pleased to present Doppelgänger by Matt Henry from 16 April to 16 May 2009.
In his first solo show at Starkwhite Henry assembles a small grouping of recently completed paintings and sculptures reflecting his interest in art, design and consumerism. Installed in two galleries, each the mirror image of the other, the exhibition plays on the notion of the doppelgänger, exploring the formal similarities and interconnectedness of art and design through the minimalist aesthetic.
Henry activates slippages between formalism, non-objective art and design in order to examine notions of value and function within these disparate contexts, at the same time confronting viewers with work that evokes a strange and slightly alienating sense of familiarity.
Matt Henry graduated from Melbourne’s RMIT University with an MFA in 2008. Recent solo shows and representation in group/thematic exhibitions include: Bloom, High Street Project, Christchurch (2004); Living Together, Michael Hirschfeld Gallery, City Gallery Wellington (2007); Activating Korea, Govett-Brewster Art Gallery, New Plymouth (2007); Mostly Harmless: a performance series, Govett-Brewster Art Gallery, New Plymouth (2006); and View, Govett-Brewster Art Gallery, New Plymouth (2004).
Located in New Zealand on Auckland’s Karangahape Road, Starkwhite presents a programme of artists’ projects, solo shows, independently curated exhibitions and occasional forays into new music and other interdisciplinary practices. Starkwhite also represents artists from New Zealand, Australia and the Pacific rim.
Please contact the gallery for further information on the exhibition and images.

Starkwhite
510 Karangahape Road, Auckland, New Zealand
Tel. +64 9 3070703
Monday to Friday: 11.00am to 6.00pm
Saturday: 11.00am to 5.00pm
starkwhite@starkwhite.co.nz
www.starkwhite.co.nz
www.starkwhite.blogspot.com


Flatline, September 7 – October 3, Starkwhite. (2009, Sep 7). Retrieved from http://starkwhite.co.nz/exhibitions/previous/matt-henry-flatline.aspx

Matt Henry: Flatline
6 September – 3 October 2009

Starkwhite is pleased to present Flatline by Matt Henry from 6 September to 3 October 2009.

In his last show at Starkwhite Henry assembled a small grouping of paintings and sculptures reflecting his interest in art, design and consumerism. Installed in two galleries, each the mirror image of the other, the exhibition played on the notion of the doppelgänger, exploring the formal similarities and interconnectedness of art and design through the minimalist aesthetic. He activated slippages between formalism, non-objective art and design in order to examine notions of value and function within these disparate contexts, at the same time confronting viewers with work that evoked a strange and slightly alienating sense of familiarity.
The title of his second exhibition, Flatline, has a slightly ambiguous ring to it that could reference 'death' (as envisaged in Rodchenko monochromes, Malevich's 'zero of form' or void), or conversely a range of 'slim-line' designer appliances/ flat screen televisions.
Henry sees the function of the title and the pairing of these particular works in the exhibition as a conduit, creating a kind of juncture between the end games (or openings) of early 20th century art/painting, and an opening out of paintings’ function in the world. He says: “These works focus on the juncture that was art's internal discourse, and the connotative values imbedded, evidenced (or not) by design in its use of the minimalist idiom. I think this simple pairing stages a snapshot of a range of techniques which tease out or test questions regarding the 'aura' of the artwork and production values. I see these devices or techniques as tools that affect transpositions between high/low, highlighting flows between these disparate contexts.”
Matt Henry graduated from Melbourne’s RMIT University with an MFA in 2008. Recent solo shows and representation in group/thematic exhibitions include: Fahrenheit, Govett-Brewster Art Gallery, New Plymouth (2009); Doppelgänger, Starkwhite (2009); Living Together, Michael Hirschfeld Gallery, City Gallery Wellington (2007); Activating Korea, Govett-Brewster Art Gallery, New Plymouth (2007); Mostly Harmless: a performance series, Govett-Brewster Art Gallery, New Plymouth (2006); View, Govett-Brewster Art Gallery, New Plymouth (2004); and Bloom, High Street Project, Christchurch (2004).
Located in New Zealand on Auckland’s Karangahape Road, Starkwhite presents a programme of artists’ projects, solo shows, independently curated exhibitions and occasional forays into new music and other interdisciplinary practices. Starkwhite also represents artists from New Zealand, Australia and the Pacific rim.
Please contact the gallery for further information on the exhibition and images.

Starkwhite
510 Karangahape Road, Auckland, New Zealand Tel. +64 9 3070703
Monday to Friday: 11.00am to 6.00pm
Saturday: 11.00am to 5.00pm
starkwhite@starkwhite.co.nz
www.starkwhite.co.nz
www.starkwhite.blogspot.com