Sep 14th 2019

Matt Martin
knowing things requires one first of all to place oneself between them: painting, trees
Reception at The Extension
1442 W. Howard St. Chicago

knowing things requires one first of all to place oneself between them: painting, trees

We apprehend painting and trees as radically different things, operating in separate territories of thought and activity. However, their material histories have shared a continuity or lineage: plant-matter into oil into petroleum into polymer into paint- one haunting the other, one becoming the other. This relation crosses vast scales in time; requires both human interaction and planetary pressures, deformation and mutations chemically and geologically; and ultimately affects political, social, and economic forces both on personal and global scales. It serves as a case for a much broader encounter- one “attending to how things act back on the world, manifesting resistances, capacities, limits and potential, and thereby challenging the normative subject/object dichotomy”.

The act of placing oneself between serves as a method for embodying this material relation, while attempting to make room for the necessarily complex and excessive things such an embodying would leave out. There are many compelling, allegorical and literal ways to interpret and enact placing oneself between (breaking, contingency, knotting, folding, etc.), terms all with their own rich discourses. In common is the sense of these acts as methods of becoming, where in the act and its inverse are really aspects of each other as opposed to contradictions or effacements- as Deleuze would say, they each contain the condition of their other’s manifestation. Instead of knowing something then through a question of what is it? we instead ask “what might it be capable of turning into? ”highlighting the processual character of things rather than simply pointing to a linear narrative of transformation”.

Matt Martin is a Chicago-based artist who undertakes speculative, morphological investigations of material and object relations, often through sculptural installation and writing. Content focuses on metaphysical issues of scale, time, and agency as they pertain to ecology and climate change, geological spaces, space politics and exploration, math, and/or quantum physics.


This program is partially supported by a grant from the Illinois Arts Council Agency.

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