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Comment by Matt Liston on September 3, 2012 at 7:51pm

In fact I do recognize those qualities in my work but have never thought to apply the label "graphic" to them. Thus far in considering or interpreting my photography I have been primarily interested in why it is psychologically that I tend to compose shots the way I do. I have always been interested in the idea of something  that is thoroughly resolved and "solid" which I think has led to a graphic quality. What I had not done thus far was recognize that it was "graphic." I am a big fan of abstractionists such as Barnett Newman, Clifford Still and Franz Kline. When I have thought of my work at all in relation to styles or schools I have thought of these painters as well. I should also add to this list Georgia O'keefe. While I am it, although thematically very different from the above I would add Kathe Kollwitz whose bold, high-contrast, black and white work resonates with me deeply. Of course I am a huge fan of Edward and Brett Weston. At bottom I suppose I am looking for some type of profound stability between objects that quite possibly have no practical relation at all. I find something soothing there that responds to my day-to-day experience. I am glad you mention the idea of taking "risks" as I often feel when I am out with my camera that I am facing a risk in order to neutralize it.


Comment by Resident Curator on August 31, 2012 at 9:28pm

Thanks so much for your reply, Matt.  I’m pleased that you interpreted my observation about your work as being graphic to be positive- as I intended it to be.  But I’m surprised you don’t see your photography as having those inherent qualities of flat color and contrasting edge.  There is purity to your compositions that I find fresh and exciting.  You don’t seem to be get hampered by the small details and are able to see striking contrast and variation. I particularly like the risks you take in keeping a mundane surface/object in the foreground.  And thank you for responding to my question about what drives the color choices- I find it interesting to have dialogue with other artists about how they make these primary selections.

Comment by Matt Liston on August 30, 2012 at 5:11pm

Thank you for your extensive feedback. I am intrigued by your comments regarding the “graphic quality” of my work. I do in fact try to establish very clean, concise relationships between the jumbled, un-related subject matter in my work but hadn’t thought of it as “graphic.” Your interpretation is definitely helpful for me in terms of gaining personal insight. As it happens graphic art is the only other artistic field that I pursue but to this point I have never considered the relationship between my photography and my graphics (they are drastically different in content and purpose but do have affinities as you point out). As for your question regarding color the answer would be that I am not at all driven by color compositions but entirely by the “compositional opportunities” of various urban locales and what they afford me in terms of being able to create interesting and off-beat physical juxtapositions.  That said, I do appreciate a bold palette and try to shoot only early and late in the day to capture the deepest, richest tones I can. 

Comment by Resident Curator on August 29, 2012 at 10:12pm

Curator’s Comment:  


The potent blues throughout these images are tremendously saturated and lush- the photographic equivalent of Maxfield Parrish’s liquid pools or Yves Klein’s patented French ultramarine.  I find the graphic punch of primary red against the cool tonalities in Number 14 especially compelling.  The photograph has a clean graphic quality with interesting alternating areas of texture and open space.  The lacey grid from the plastic barrier and power lines crisscross in a delicate web against the waterscape, forming slightly opposing diagonals.  The slight shifts in these angles work beautifully beside the dominant horizontal band of the brown pier.  Number 11 at first glance seems more austere, and minimally arranged.  But the smooth gradation of value and subtle changes in temperature offer a meditation on surface and light.  Repeatedly I come back to the strength of the palette.  I wonder if the color compositions are what lead you to your subjects, or if you are drawn to individual locations, and alternatively bask in the local shades.


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