Matjames Metson’s first solo show in Los Angeles, “Method Attic” at Coagula Curatorial, showcases over 120 pieces of the artist’s assemblage. Cindy Schwartzstein collects Matjames’ works, which are seeped in the mysterious underground river of America, built from discards and detritus. In other words, Matjames Metson makes really beautiful, profound and moving works of art from vintage photographs, cigar boxes, furniture, old toys and so much more, imbuing his art with a sense of both loss and wonderment.
Others of us at Cartwheel are equally as thrilled by Matjames’ artistic craftsmanship and eye for sorrow, beauty and grace. After seeing his work–intricately fraught with hand carvings, embedded with keys, used pencils, wooden matches and other objects–there is instant recognition of skilled, creative genius, as well as of ourselves, our pasts our futures, our dreams in his works.
Displaced by Hurricane Katrina, in which he lost his studio, his art and life, Matjames and his two dogs moved to Los Angeles, and he began slowly rebuilding himself. Driven to create, but with no materials, he used what was available to him–newspapers, discarded cigar boxes, much like Czech photographer Miroslav Tichý built cameras out of cigarette boxes and eyeglasses he found on the street. Gradually, as friends sent him items, including mousetraps, stamps, rulers, old metal pieces and other discarded objects, Matjames was able to create more and more works of art, resulting in “Method Attic” 120 pieces which range from 1.5″x 3″ hanging assemblages to installation pieces including the Hornet Chair which was featured in La Luz de Jesus’ 25th anniversary show, a large reversible female to male statue, and intricately detailed cabinets of curiosity.
Coagula’s Mat Gleason exclaimed when he saw the work coming into the gallery:
You could literally look at this art for a week and still find plenty of new stuff.
Matjames Metson’s “Method Attic” opening is Saturday night, July 28 beginning at 5pm. The gallery is open for previews Friday, 12 noon til 5pm.
Photos: Lee Joseph for Cartwheel Art.Mat Gleason & Coagula Curatorial presents MATJAMES “METHOD ATTIC” A Solo Show of Over 120 Works Saturday July 28, 5-11pm ONE NIGHT ONLY! 977 Chung Kings Rd.
Chinatown, LOS ANGELES 90012
Matjames Metson, a juggernaut of the assemblage world, has exhibited at the American Visionary Art Museum (Baltimore); Barrister’s Gallery (New Orleans); and in lLos Angeles at Billy Shire Fine Arts, La Luz de Jesus, and The Craft & Folk Art Museum (“Celestial Ash: Assemblages from Los Angeles,” curated by Kristine McKenna). “METHOD ATTIC” at Coagula Curatorial Saturday July 28 marks his first solo show in Los Angeles, with over 120 works of art, ranging from small assemblages to installation pieces.
“Matjames is the real deal…He’s compelled by forces most people have no experience with…I have to ask if Rauschenberg has some play here. ‘Thank you for not saying Joseph Cornell!’…Cornell hadn’t even occurred to me. There’s more soul in Matjames’ work. More heft. Every piece seems haunted…Metson’s art seems to have the pulse of American Gothic,’ but not the way Grant Wood meant.For me, Metson’s pieces scan America’s hidden history, its dark swamps and the immigrants that fill them. ”– Keith Ross Dugas – KROSSD
“Matjames Metson fuses delicate, intricate woodworking using matches, cigar boxes, pencils and rulers with old photographs, nails, keys and gears to create elaborate story pieces grounded in the underbelly of Americana. Ranging from small portraits to full sized chairs and installation pieces, Metson’s work displays self-reliant craftsmanship and exquisite refinement.”
“The most synonymous name with assemblage is Joseph Cornell, the notorious reclusive Brooklyn artist. Noting the simplicity of Cornell’s shadow boxes, Matjames comments, ‘In my work I try to take it a step further – every single time.’ ”
Starting at 7:30pm, SLAKE MAGAZINE joins the METHOD ATTIC OPENING with readings by some of LA’s finest poets: Iris Berry, Joe Donnelly, Amelia Fleetwood, Polly Geller, Joseph Lapin, John Tottenham, John Waldman, Erica Zora Wrightson, plus live musical entertainment by The Max Wrightson Trio.
The artist struggled after being displaced by Hurricane Katrina. But he’s found a healing power in creating his 3-D compositions.