Matt Eich's Seasonal Blues
A new exhibition of work by Matt Eich at jdc fine art draws from a year and a half of prolific image-making in an ongoing visual journal series titled, Seasonal Blues. This string of work links moments together like a never-ending chain. A selection of the work exists as limited-edition prints and many more appear in small-run quarterly self-published books by the emerging artist (under the imprint Little Oak Press). Time- the fleeting baseline of life itself- is revealed in Eich’s Seasonal Blues. As Eich creates this image of the world, he seeks to locate himself within it.
Our lives unfold day by day; some we remember, most we forget, but for Eich photography has always been the antidote and guard against the loss of memory, the loss of time. His frames preserve them as a canner would jam. They are precious and fresh images that stir up the viewer’s own memory and the emotions that come with them. Remembrance swells in frames that inspire longing and desire for yesterday- for the chance to live it again, perhaps the same way, or perhaps differently.
The photographs selected for this gallery exhibition fluidly integrate the genres of portraiture, still life, interiors and landscapes. In this space, the line between personal and commissioned works is erased. Banal yet loaded symbols like apples, a snake, a bee, and a ghost thread through scenes that are enduring and temporal cultural backdrops to societal rites: baptisms, protests, sunsets, harvests, and holidays. We feel these places belong to us. We know these moments. We have been in these emotional spaces ourselves- pretend, childhood games, secret adventures, travel, days then seasons passing, embraces, sadness that moves us to tears, aging.
That our intimacy with the photographs in the gallery exhibition becomes shared is made more resonant by the fact our visual narrator, Eich, increasingly contextualizes himself and his own family within the larger body of work. This choice is reflected in the exhibition’s image selection. Having a protagonist grounds us. It is with knowing eyes that we see his world, our world. Matt Eich’s previous works include, I Love You, I’m Leaving, a series of black-and-white family work during a tumultuous period, and The Invisible Yoke, a study on the American condition. The Invisible Yoke employs color documentary photography to establish a four volume 15-plus year study on the slow unraveling of the American Dream. The gallery presented exhibitions of The Invisible Yoke : Vol. I : Carry Me Ohio in 2016 and The Invisible Yoke : Vol. II : Sin & Salvation in Baptist Town in 2019. These projects touch on the personal and the universal too, but Seasonal Blues is evolving in a more loose, painterly, and poetic direction.
As we are left with emotions shaken loose by photographic memory-triggers, we wonder if perhaps it is the weight of time exposed that makes the work so palpable, and that time is naturally fleeting so we are not crushed by the gravity of our actions through it. Life is temporal and sacred. The rituals we subscribe to are not law by nature, rather designs of our own making. Through openness and compassion, we can share fears and desires. The web of intimacy surrounds us, belongs to us, and us to it.