MATTHEW HANSEL

SOLO EXHIBITION

JANUARY 24 – MARCH 13, 2015

From the Artist

One of the most remarkable aspects of standing in front of a painting is that you can stand in the exact place the artist stood. You have precisely the same physical relation to the object that the person who made it had when they created it. Roughly arms length away, you can see the way the painting was constructed; the brushstrokes, glazes, scumbles and scrapes. You also get to see the artist’s point of view- what they saw, what they chose to include or exclude and often, a sense of what they were thinking.

This is especially true when you stand in front an artist’s self-portrait. A self-portrait shows you how an artist saw him or herself and allows you to inhabit their space- or at least the space they inhabited while painting it. These paintings often take place in front of mirrors. So, while the artist appears to be looking out toward the imagined viewer, they are actually looking at themselves. They are hoping the painting will survive long after they are gone. They are hoping to have many people come to stand where they once stood and see them as they saw themselves. It’s the type of one to one relationship you don’t get from many other types of art.

When I visit a museum, I seek out the self-portraits. When I stand in front of a self-portrait of an artist who has long since passed, this idea weighs heavily on my mind: This artist is now living through me. I am their mirror, looking back in time at them. Standing where they stood, I am figuratively in their shoes. I am an artist, standing where another artist once stood. I am trying to leave my mark, show my point of view, be remembered.

My paintings of museum walls allow you stand in my shoes. In this way, they are indeed self-portraits. They show you what I see- my point of view.  I stand in front of another artist’s self-portrait and look left or right or straight ahead. I paint what I see. I show the imagined viewer what I am experiencing. I hope the painting will survive long after I am gone. I hope to have many people come stand where I once stood and see how I saw myself. I want you to be my mirror, to stand where I once stood, when I was alive.

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