Carbon, Birch, Silver, Rooms: New Works by Matthew Brandt
Yossi Milo Gallery is pleased to present Carbon, Birch, Silver, Rooms, an exhibition of new works by Matthew Brandt. The show will be on view through Saturday, December 11. This is the artist’s fourth exhibition with the gallery and is an arrangement of four distinct bodies of work.
The works in Carbon, Birch, Silver, Rooms continue Brandt’s experimental processes inspired by the natural world, and further articulate complexities within landscape picture-making traditions. As described by the artist, “Light is a strange thing to hold, and this exhibition has something to do with this undertaking.” Featured are black carbon prints, laser-engraved birch plywood pieces, gelatin silver prints doused in liquid silver, and a selection of reclaimed chandeliers from various rooms. Together, these works address the interrelationship of light and dark, and their influence on the subject, material, and observer.
In his series, Birch, Matthew Brandt continues his characteristic process of facilitating dialogue between subject and material, allowing the subject to participate in the creation of the work itself. The series features photographs of birch trees around St. Petersburg, Russia, where Brandt’s interest in the cultural and national importance of the revered trees was sparked. Each image is precisely laser-engraved into a piece of 71" x 41" birch plywood. Brandt then scorches the wood, further darkening its surface, and applies gold leaf, creating a luminous opening into the image and inviting the viewer to experience the texture of the trees themselves through a photograph.
In contrast to the roughness of the birchwood, the gallery will also present new 71” x 41” pieces from Brandt’s Silver series. Each black-and-white photograph of forests is produced as a gelatin silver print, onto which the artist liberally applies liquid silver to reference and accentuate the material by which the photograph was made. The smooth, reflective surface of the Silver works, reminiscent of an antique mirror, not only illustrates the material used, but ties in the viewer and their surroundings as subjects of the work.
For his Carbon series, Brandt collects the burned materials from sites devastated by the California wildfires and uses them to explore the historic practice of carbon printing. The charred materials, mostly wood, act as the pigment, while blackout fabric is used instead of paper. The result is a dark yet detailed representation of the area in which the material was collected. Black on black, the image reveals itself through a subtle tonality and glossy sheen. The final outcome acts like a memory: a window into a world where the subject of the work once existed.
The repurposed chandeliers in Brandt’s Rooms series represent a “photographic record of the room [they] once occupied.” The artist, while purchasing each used chandelier from the seller, is entrusted to take a panoramic photograph of the room the light fixture was installed in. At his studio, Brandt deconstructs each chandelier and heat-fuses one facet of the photograph into each glass pendant. Once reassembled, the chandelier depicts a recreation of its former owner’s home in 360-degrees. Entitled according to where the chandelier originated -- Barbara's Living Room or Lance's Study -- the individual glass parts become a photographic lens into the room and carry records of their past.