A few months ago I wrote an essay for an upcoming exhibition at Northeastern Illinois University, titled Material Matters. The exhibition includes Tim Bergstrom, Samantha Bittman, Daniel Bruttig, Kristin Haas, Matt Irie and Scott Wolniak, and opens this Monday, August 25th. Here’s an excerpt of the essay included in the catalog, available at the gallery.
The artists in Material Matters belong to the contemporary field of painters who find the medium open enough to sustain their creativity and express their interests. Painting is still, for the most part, a game of surface and materials, and these artists take dramatically different directions in both, by blending concepts from other mediums, experimenting with processes and the physicality of paint, and testing the visual opportunities presented by ordinary objects and nontraditional materials. Like all artists in today’s contemporary art world, they try to do what all artists do: produce works that prove their place, and earn our attention, by compelling us at the level of sight, presence, and thought.