“One Question” with Matthew Woodward, artist

Matthew Woodward was born in Rochester, NY in 1981. He graduated from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2005 with a BFA and from there went on to earn his Masters in Drawing from the New York Academy of Art in 2007. Currently he lives in Chicago and is represented by Linda Warren Gallery.

Following a review and interview with Bad at Sports in early 2011, Woodward had three solo shows, all in Chicago. They were at Linda Warren Gallery, The Union League Club and at the Elmhurst Art Museum, which is up currently and has been reviewed in Art Critical. He is also currently in a group show, Ways of Making: Work on Paper, at Governors State University.

Recently, Woodward was artist in residence at the Alfred and Trafford Klots International Program, through MICA, in Lehon, France.

He is currently scheduled to exhibit a new body of drawings funded by a CAAP award at the Chicago Cultural Center in May 2012.

Neoteric Art: You are currently part of a group show “Ways of Making: Work on Paper” with Michelle Grabner, Zach Mory and Alison Svoboda — curated by Elizabeth Whiting and Jeff Stevenson. How did you become acquainted with Elizabeth Whiting?

Matthew Woodward: I got involved with Elizabeth Whiting when I attended Katie Loomis’ show last year at the Union League Club where Elizabeth is the Curator. I sort of waited around all night while she talked to everyone, I wanted to introduce myself and ask if I could submit a proposal. The Union League Club has had, for years, this beautiful and intimate gallery space on their third floor for emerging artists. At the time it wasn’t open to submissions. You had to be asked, and so I asked for myself. And for a few months I tastefully hounded her until she agreed to allow me to submit some work. I ended up having a show called Or To Append the Canceled Lyrics about a year later.

Elizabeth is about as magnanimous a person to work with as you can get, and I’ve been really fortunate to have her in my corner. She passes on to me about every opportunity she finds. And so when her and Jeff Stevenson began working on this project, she came to me and asked if I’d be interested. I was.

Anyway, Ways of Making is actually a series of shows about a variety of disciplines in which the work selected is in some way still very much in touch with the actual process that developed it. It actually becomes quite an interactive frame through which to approach a show. And I think with an exhibit that focuses in particular on paper you’re going to find that raw, hands-on, manipulable transaction readily available.

And Elizabeth and Jeff did fine work curating this show. There is an obsessiveness to the handling of surface here that almost overrides the actual finished product. It’s seductive and you can see it happening all over the paper, like a memory has been turned inside out.

With Michelle’s work you want to walk into it and walk back and then walk up again and touch all over it. That thin beamstring texture of silverpoint light can be puzzling. I wanted to run my fingers over her drawings like a piano, to be perfectly honest. The mark making is painfully deliberate, and as such it becomes a pivot point that’s undeniable to the concept of the work as a whole.

If you look a Zach’s work, it’s the same. It’s awe-inspiring, and technically overwhelming and simple and manic and when you hear him talk about it it also becomes something else in a way that pulls the intensity of all this mark-making, which he wouldn’t be able to help doing anyway, into the scope of his intent. He marries the two almost seamlessly.

And with Alison’s work, too. There is no where to get bored, or even to start looking at this massive motheyed fractal map she installed. It looks like its going to flake off the wall like a huge mushroom cap. She has manipulated the paper in a way that mutes it’s connection with a specific materiality, it looks fragile and filmy and wet still and attempts a very corporeal interaction with the work.