While minimalist in theory, inspired by ideas of reduction and suggestion, Matthew Langley’s work demonstrates the power of gestural abstract painting through a practice of expressive brushstrokes, careful composition, and a deep understanding of color. His early paintings are constructed from individual abstractions that come together to form a larger grid. In these, the subtleties of the colors and strokes blend together to create both a distinct play between each of the smaller internal paintings and an overarching unity when viewed as a whole.
This idea of layers of viewing and meaning, where distance and space inform one another, carries over into his latest series of work. Beginning in the winter of 2014, born out of what the artist deems a “snow day”, Langley began a daily practice of quick, small paintings that broke the structures of his earlier practice while maintaining its core elements. What resulted was a smoothing out of the lines of the grid and a transition into the large, undulating color fields of his current work. Broken by thin, vertical streaks and transitions in hue and saturation, this work escapes rigidity, representation, and mechanical perfection in favor of an unobtrusive human touch through rough edges and visible brushstrokes. In the end, space and time are compressed on the plane of the image, allowing the work to unfold slowly in front of the viewer, and the only hints towards the artists personal connection to the work are given by his carefully crafted titles or, “shorthanded poetry.”
Matthew Langley received his BFA from Corcoran School of Art in 1985. Since then, Langley’s work has been shown extensively in the United States through numerous group and solo exhibitions Langley’s paintings have also been included in various public and corporate collections including; the International Museum of Collage, Assemblage, and Construction, The Doris Patz Collection at the University of Maryland University College (UMUC), DC Commission for the Arts and Humanities, Ernest and Young, PNC Bank, University of Baltimore and MacAndrews & Forbes. He currently lives in New York City and works from MANA Contemporary in Jersey City.