Take A Minute: A Show of Resilience: Dionnys Matos
Art is always a harmony parallel to nature. – Cézanne
The world is my representation. The man who confesses this truth knows clearly that he knows neither a sun nor an earth, but only eyes that see a sun and a hand that feels the touch of an earth. – Schopenhauer
Take a Minute: A Show of Resilience is the first solo exhibition of multi-disciplinary artist Dionnys Matos. The work is a celebration of the resiliency of the materials he uses and a testament to the artist's inventiveness. He forces awareness of the harm brought to the natural world by our single-use, disposable culture through his exploration of materiality and use of his personal aesthetic as camouflage. He finds beauty in the everyday object as he recycles and reuses plastic cups, Styrofoam bowls, packaging materials and bubble wrap in his creative milieu.
His majestic Wave, a four panel mural almost 6' x 12' is made up of bubble wrap injected with acrylic. The foreboding quality of the evening sky and the viewer's perspective of being overwhelmed by the churning sea brings to mind Longo's Untitled (Raft at Sea) and perhaps Hokusai's The Great Wave off Kanagawa. The artist tells us this is a commentary on the degradation of our oceans with plastics. Instead of the sea being taken over by plastics, here, captured in a moment of invincibility, the sea is taking its revenge, dominating the plastic substrate. It is a moment of reckoning.
The Order of Things, is a series comprised of analog, medium format photographs of still life compositions that are digitally manipulated to add sophisticated and unexpected hues saturating the foreground, the background and the objects themselves, creating at once, arresting yet meditative, primitive and totemic icons of daily detritus.
The work of Dionnys Matos is a meditation on objects and matter, and perhaps time. Cups, bowls, discarded packaging and debris are transformed from their raw materials into symbols of their meaning and a reflection on their presence in our lives. These objects are obsessively treated, sometimes injected with acrylic, and inhabited by a sophisticated color palette with almost monastic subtleties. There’s an involuntary Buddhism where contemplation becomes art.
As in the still lifes of Italian painter Giorgio Morandi, Dionnys’ work is stopped in an expectant moment and the work is, fundamentally, an invitation to pause. Catalan painter Albert Râfols-Casamada noted that in Morandi’s works, “…time has a presence. It is as if time has accumulated in these objects, leaving its mark in the form of dust, shading the light, sometimes giving a touch of weariness to the brushstrokes.” In Dionnys' pieces everything seems to have stopped as in an uninhabited and timeless world, but in his process, there is no tiredness, not in his brush, nor in his syringe. His pause is a call for awareness, an invitation to remember what surrounds us, what we use every day, the objects in our environment, how we use them and how conscious we are of the traces we leave behind. His work has the weight of a collective existence: Are we privileged? Are we poor? Do we destroy our environment, or do we adapt? Are we capable of reusing that which is at the service of our comfort?
The answers to the questions Dionnys’ work asks may be as diverse as the circumstances of each individual. Despite our differences, we may all be able to stop, and take a minute before throwing anything away and celebrate, in that moment, not only the materiality of things but the possibility of giving them a second life. Take a Minute: A Show of Resilience is a celebration of that possibility. His ecocritical work turns our gaze to the complex everydayness of use and has found poetry therein.
Dionnys Matos was born in 1991 in Holguín, Cuba, the City of Parks.