Useful Pressures, Matthew Dibble

Artist: Matthew Dibble, Title: Pearl Beach, oil & charcoal painting

Pearl Beach, oil, charcoal and paper on canvas, 72 x 90 inches, 2014

January 3–28, 2017

Matthew Dibble’s exhibition “Useful Pressures,” is a gateway to a sumptuous world of painterly abstraction; a conduit to a place where the language of painting and drawing come together with seamless integration. The dancing lines and groupings of geometric and organic shapes in the paintings pulsate with life, movement and color.

The materials themselves inspire an animated, personal vocabulary, informed by their intrinsic qualities and the great tradition of abstract expressionism, often with a figurative nod. The artist uses industrial paints and adhesives, staples, thumb tacks, and enamel, along with traditional materials to create textured marks, constructed and deconstructed surfaces.  At the same time, he masterfully choreographs lines, bits of intense color and form into an organic completeness, each painting different, yet definitely wrapped in his own vision.

In Pearl Beach, oil, charcoal and paper on canvas, 72 x 90 inches, 2014, space holds on to both the surface and overlapping shapes and lines, creating planes or plate-like slabs that seem to move laterally, both faithful to, and disassociating from their linear boundaries. Negative and positive elements, figure ground relationships, tension and release of form with highly saturated bits of color bring together the power of ancient megaliths and unpretentious, painterly elegance. Each shape organizes itself into a space that is locked and mobile at once.  These dissonant forces come together to create a dynamic whole, a world of deliberation and chance, specific and general, open and closed.  The eye travels around the canvas, stopping here and there to absorb the color, pause against an edge, and contemplate the range of spatial locations. The edges of the canvas are carefully composed to both imply wholeness, and a space beyond the picture plane. Color and gesture work with synchronicity and serve symbolic as well as compositional functions.  Drips and dabs of yellow and white pull the light from inside the canvas.  Snippets of pattern peep through the larger shapes, changing their distance from us, and each other with whimsy and grace.

The scale of the work is a function of the artist’s engagement with the space.  The paintings are objects; larger than our bodies, so we experience them both as objects and channels into an exciting world of endless possibility qualified only by the imagination of the viewer, a threshold into the human spirit, transformed by the language of paint.

Carol Heft~

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