The Hole is proud to present Re_Spawn, our second solo exhibition by Minneapolis-based artist Mathew Zefeldt. Zefeldt creates paintings of simulated worlds where time and mortality cease to exist.

Zefeldt's paintings are informed by the 2013 video game Grand Theft Auto V, which Zefeldt augments with a personalized avatar, wardrobe and cars. Scenes include exploding police cruisers, vehicles flying off cliffs and interactions with other players’ avatars, along with in-game interfaces like navigational insets and notifications about the health status of adversaries.

Zefeldt's canvases can be nice landscapes and cityscapes made sexy by the inclusion of fast cars, fighter jets and the impression that we could be at the controls. Taken as cultural commentary, they can be reflections on our obsession with the spectacle of violence and the vicarious experience of defying death. The title of the show—Re_Spawn—is a gaming term referring to the automatic cycle of death and rebirth which allows players freedom from legal consequence and digital immortality. Importantly though, there are scant depictions of gore in this series; in Re_Spawn 12 (Fire) one dead character lies supine and unbloodied halfway out of frame. More often we see Zefeldt's avatar stopping to admire a view. Over his shoulder, in Foreground Middleground Background, we see four beautiful frames of the GTA universe's version of Hollywood Hills.

Many of Zefeldt's recent paintings use a Warholian grid composition to capture multiple scenes from the game, a technique that contributes to the screen-like flatness of the paintings and suggests the possibility that we occupy multiple parallel realities. With this body of work, the artist pokes not just at the scrim between the virtual and physical, but also between ourselves and our cultural realities: Who are we and how do we express ourselves? What worlds do we create, and which do we destroy?