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Matthew Carter’s Expressive Canvases at Luis de Jesus Gallery

Originally posted by: The Los Angeles Times
August 19, 2014

Shaped canvases that deviate from a painting’s conventional rectangular format became commonplace in 1960s abstract painting. They turn up again in new work by Matthew Carter – albeit in a wholly unexpected, challengingly original way.

At Luis de Jesus Gallery, seven large and three small paintings give shaped canvas a slyly expressive function that is very different from the almost sculptural, non-illusionistic formal motives of ‘60s abstraction.

Carter’s shapes are made from stretcher bars that are broken, split and cobbled together. Sometimes the painting’s otherwise flat surface bends slightly off the wall. He still emphasizes the painting as an object, just as his shaped-canvas predecessors did, but irregular shadows now suggest the object’s eccentricity.

The paintings employ very thin, loosely woven linen, nearly as loose as cheesecloth. It pulls at points of stress in the stretchers and even begins to shred. Gauze bandages, splints and tourniquets come to mind.

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