Matt Lifson

How is your fever?

January 6 – February 17, 2018
Artist Reception: Saturday, January 6, 2018, 4 – 7 p.m.

Water stretches over the thin body, wrapping his crystallizing hands around strangled happy throats. When his ice melts he moves to the next host, leaving behind an imprint – perhaps three devils or a fangless drooling sun.

CB1 Gallery is pleased to present our first solo exhibition for Los Angeles-based artist Matt Lifson, How is your fever? Building on previous exhibitions, the artist continues to critique storytelling in contemporary culture, and its reliance on film and photography. He employs a variety of painting techniques, perforating the history and trajectory of pictures. The exhibition will be on view from January 6 through February 17, 2018.

Matt Lifson’s new series of paintings engage the shifting nature of pictures, and the stories we choose to tell through them. They focus on the contemporary phenomenon of how anonymous images become ubiquitous catalysts for our own personal narratives. The work further explores how painting can warily thin the boundaries between the tangible banal world and its preternatural reflection. Images of wandering crowds, thrift store trinkets, children playing in a flooded backyard, etc., are buried under layers of color and gestural marks, distorting and disorienting their inherent narratives. Although realism remains mostly intact, the suggestiveness of a painting language takes over, subverting the familiar relationships we may have to pictures and opening them to potential dreamscapes. Lifson slows down the register of pictures and suggests that a filmic lens precedes our own experiences.

In Lifson’s new paintings, color is used as a theatrical gel that suspends the image, like a scene trapped under ice, ceasing its animation. Color then becomes an allegory of nostalgia, the vehicle directing one back to the trace of what may or may not have existed. That trace is what the artist emphasizes; the transient space the images are suspended in, like ghosts of themselves. It is the fever dream space subverting what we perceive as nostalgic and familiar into a foreboding horror.

Matt Lifson has had solo exhibitions at ACME Gallery as well as Angles Gallery, both in Los Angeles. He has also been included in group exhibitions in LA, NY and Europe. He has been honored as a Rema Hort Mann Foundation YoYoYo grant recipient in 2013 and was a nominee for the Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation grant in 2009. A native of Long Island, New York, Lifson lives and works in Los Angeles. He completed the Master of Fine Arts degree at Otis College of Art and Design in Los Angeles (BFA, School of Visual Arts, New York).

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