Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Unraveling a Mystery- Matthew Craven's Oblivious Path-revised

DCKT Contemporary is currently presenting Matthew Craven’s first solo show Oblivious Path. Neatly framed in white, the orange painted wall consists of ten collages that are composed of drawings, relics, and images from lost cultures. Almost all are made within black and white found materials on found papers. It is apparent that majority of his sources are some kind of anthropological studies but none of the information of where or when it was found is given. The only thing we see is a large accumulation of historical remnants and monuments. Immediately, the viewer is led to think of the history. By totally neglecting the time and place of its establishment, bulk of these static images challenge the viewer through asking a question about the manner we use artworks to connect with the history.  
                              Arrangement I (Unclassified)2013. Mixed Media :Found book pages on found paper
The Arrangement I (Unclassified) collage offers the viewer a pleasure to stroll around each image. They seem to be randomly pieced, and then put together according to the shape of its figure. While simply looking at this categorization of visual information from various sources, it feels like walking through a history museum without having any descriptive caption. His compositions are so regularly organized that the arrangement seems almost obsessive. Given even amount of space between individual image, the geometric collage offers somewhat gratifying ocular effect to the viewer. After all, one realizes that it is no longer important to understand what is actually depicted. It is not necessary to know where Craven found the ancient ruins, this statue or that monument, nor we must know why he chose them. Image as an individual piece does not carry any meaning from original source. Just because he chose historical object, it does not necessarily make the work about artifacts.

Craven’s perpetually clueless collage completely flattens the idea of history; it stands as a representation itself. His cryptic images and geometric patterns only function as a vague guide; therefore, it is up to the imagination of the viewer how to comprehend this mysterious puzzle.  

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