Risque, perhaps, but ‘all in good fun’: Solo exhibit by Matthew Rose on display at Converge Gallery
Williamsport Sun-Gazette | March 12, 2015
By ERICA MOTTER
Whether viewing highbrow Renaissance-era oil paintings and sculptures or the centerfold story of a Playboy, it’s fair to say that art has always had a rather, uh, intimate relationship with sexuality.
While most works, no matter how ridiculous, tend to take the topic seriously, Matthew Rose is a collage artist who prefers to explore humans’ fascination with sexuality all the way down to the dingy and gaudy pages of adult magazines–while constantly mixing in the sentiment: “it’s all in good fun.”
A collection of 100 of Rose’s hand-cut and painted collages will be displayed in Converge Gallery from March 6 until April 25 in a show called “Pressure Washing: An Indiscreet But Satisfying Rapture.”
The themes of all the collages are “sometimes erotic, sometimes obscene, indecent, titillating, arousing, risqué,” and the works are often “rife with bawdy double-entendres and soft-core innuendo.”
His collages, which combine photographs, advertisements, drawings and bits of text, create surreal scenes overflowing with pop culture imagery and hinting toward tongue-in-cheek erotica.
“Matthew Rose has always been a delight to work with. He brings a blend of collage, with some slight humor, wrapped around a great conceptual theme,” John Yogodzinski, Converge Gallery manager, said.
Rose is showing his third solo show at Converge, his last exhibit being “The Letters” in 2013, consisting of a collection of 333 letters that he mailed to the gallery in the form of missives, faux books and letters from various alphabets.
For Pressure Washing, Rose wanted to create an “American Peep Booth” experience for the patrons–so he wrapped some of his more risqué works in plastic and had them put on display in boxes, to simulate the experience of leafing through dirty magazines.
The name of the show itself, “Pressure Washing,” is a shortened reference to lyrics from the song “Foxtrot Uniform Charlie Kilo” by the ever-brash group The Bloodhound Gang, which snidely references sexual acts in a series of creative euphemisms.
Despite this emphasis on the seedier side of visual art, Rose’s works still handle the subject matter in a sophisticated way–mostly having harmless fun while exploring the genre.
“If you look at the works on display, they may be a little suggestive, but hardly offensive,” Yogodzinski said. “I feel like I’ve seen worse on primetime television than what’s on display in the gallery.”
Rose, a Paris-based but American-born artist, has displayed his works worldwide in previous shows like “Spelling with Scissors” and “God and Country.”
In addition to his collages, he has also created text works, prints, drawings and altered books and objects, which are collected both privately and publicly throughout Europe and the U.S.
Rose is also currently working on producing two books, “Weekend Plans” and “As is,” the latter of which focuses on his experiences creating and displaying art over the past 30 years.
For Pressure Washing, the process of displaying Rose’s works in the Converge Gallery itself proved a challenge to the Converge staff, as they needed to figure out a way to hang 100 works while renovating the studio space.
Some of the renovations included building a wall to make the space more manageable and less intimidating to artists, and also to provide a separate downstairs headquarters for The Graphic Hive, which is also housed in the gallery building.
“The new space is pretty impressive and I encourage everyone to come and check it out,” Yogodzinski said.
The show is currently open to the public. To come check out the works, visitors can stop in between Wednesday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Converge Gallery, located at 140 West Fourth St.