JAN 14-FEB 24

MATTHEW WATSON: COMMISSION
BARTER | FOR SALE

OPENING RECEPTION SUN, JAN 13, 6-8PM
Press Release

Matthew Wat­son extends the tra­di­tional mode of rep­re­sen­ta­tion to con­cep­tual ends, turn­ing por­trai­ture away from a con­ver­sa­tion of class to the delin­eation of his com­mu­nity and its poten­tial value. Here, inter­per­sonal rela­tion­ships replace feu­dal lines of power. Tra­di­tional skill and tech­ni­cal acu­ity are endowed with an ide­o­log­i­cal purview towards the present. Wat­son makes trans­par­ent the lin­eage and con­nec­tions of art world hier­ar­chy, allow­ing us to see it through a lens of posi­tion­ing and prox­im­ity.

Com­mis­sion | Barter | For Sale, Watson’s first exhi­bi­tion at Joe Shef­tel Gallery, presents twenty-first cen­tury sub­jects in a man­ner origin-ating from the six­teenth cen­tury. The indi­vid­u­als depicted serve dif­fer­ent roles – dealer, col­lec­tor, men­tor, artist/critic, col­league – roles that con­tribute to the very paint­ings in which they are rep­re­sented. In short, the exhi­bi­tion presents a map that reveals Watson’s ever-evolving pro­fes­sional rela­tion­ships, from men­tors and busi­ness asso­ciates to bene­fac­tors and peers.

Vary­ing in size from 9” x 7” to 29” x 29”, the paint­ings on view are con­cerned with por­trai­ture – where court life and feu­dal sys­tems gave way to a new­found nobil­ity. In these new paint­ings, the fig­ure is often por­trayed in front of another artist’s work – Jutta Koether, Dan Gra­ham, John or Ann Cham­ber­lain, or Alex Da Corte. A series of rela­tion­ships emerge where the rep­re­sented fig­ures are teth­ered by what is pic­tured behind them. Wat­son deploys the court painter’s use of iconog­ra­phy, replac­ing indi­ca­tions of wealth with con­tem­po­rary art ref­er­ences, bring­ing into focus the power of intel­lec­tual value.

For press inquiries and images, please con­tact the gallery at mail@joesheftelgallery.com.