MATTHEW FEYLD

New Paintings

Start exhibition 22 February
Geukens & De Vil, KNOKKE

Exhibition > 29 March 2020

 

©We Document Art, 2019

Feyld’s earlier work included installations of small monochrome canvases. Not unlike Robert Barry in the mid 1960s, he dispersed these to the perimeter of the walls on which they were hung, mapping the outline of the architecture. Confronted by the well populated history of monochrome painting, in his work Feyld was no doubt drawn to differentiate his singular color fields in some way that expanded the possibilities of the mode without contradicting the conviction he shared with many of those artists: that a painting should operate as a special kind of object that activates, both optically and haptically, the space in which it is installed.

 

Feyld’s next step was to internalize this investigation of the relationship between a geometric unit and its surrounding space within a singular painted field. He did this via the dashes that started to appear along the periphery of his paintings, visually activating their perimeter much as his monochrome canvases had that of the rooms in which they were installed. They also push the relationship a step further, by articulating the physical boundary between painted and actual space. This gives the work an open-ended, imaginative dimension that is absent from the more purely conceptual and architectural valences of the preceding work.

With time the dashes evolved into dots. At first they also appeared along the edges of the canvas, but eventually migrated to its center. This format has become the primary, if not the exclusive, component of Feyld’s artistic vocabulary. From there Feyld has played with this basic unit: permuting, dividing, and multiplying it. Each canvas is discrete, but also has the potentially to be deployed in a modular fashion, and thus expanded serially through the addition of similar canvases. For example, Feyld’s new multi-panel works made up of horizontal bar canvases, each punctuated by a single dot. The dimensions of these paintings are based on those of his square ones. For example, a twenty-four-inch square becomes eight three-by-twenty-four-inch panels.

 

It is important to note that, seen in person, Feyld’s work is not flat, meaning thinly painted and consequently graphic in effect. Instead, the paintings are densely layered, and further, the dot(s) and the field are materially distinct from one another. For the dot, which we likely interpret as a subsequent gesture enacted upon a ground prepared before, is in fact the cultivated residue of an earlier stage in the building up of the final color field. Because Feyld layers different hues so as to arrive at a dense, definitive color this is quite literally a remnant of an earlier moment in the work’s life. Further, the two parts of the painting are distinguished materially by consisting of (nearly imperceptibly) different levels of paint accretion. They are thus the same, materially, and yet utterly different, visually. This is the kind of simultaneity of presence and absence that Carl Andre is also speaking about in the epigraph, and which is essential to any art object’s underlying ontology as a physical presence in a space, and yet also as something that is underwritten (and thus to some degree always overwritten) by the qualities of the space in which it is exhibited—no matter how “neutral” it purports to be.

Excerpt from Text by Alex Bacon.