#lonianderson by Matthew Best, 2014
Diary, an exhibition of 29 paintings made between 2014-2017, offers a glimpse of artist Matthew Best’s inner thoughts as his work has evolved over the last three years. Upon entering the gallery, viewers are greeted by the non-objective doppelgängers of Burt Reynolds and Loni Anderson. Titled #burtreynolds and #lonianderson respectively, the paintings, with clusters of layered triangles, represent their subjects mainly through color. The two are paired, as if in homage to their brief marriage that began while Best was in middle school and ended during his second year of college in the University of Hartford’s BFA program. Separated by Ambrosia, a larger work with similar characteristics to #lonianderson but with a wider range of color, and a comfortable distance from the drama of Burt and Loni sits #richardsimmons, a richly painted tribute to one of the artist’s favorite pop culture icons. Moving further into the space the work becomes more architectural before the invasion of election-year politics and the ominous cloud of demagoguery and fascism force their way into the artist’s psyche. Best’s response to the outcome of the election is captured by the one painting in the show that includes text. The work becomes heavier and more rigid. The imagery remains non-objective, but the titles give the viewer a sense of what the artist was feeling while making them, taking refuge in his Hartford, CT studio while trying to make sense of what was happening beyond those walls.
Diary runs from March 28 – May 6. There will be a closing reception on Friday, May 5 from 5 – 8pm.
Final Painting of the Old Order (detail) by Matthew Best, 2016