Dolby Chadwick Gallery is pleased to announce In the Aggregate, a group exhibition featuring the art of Jenifer Kent, Matt R. Phillips, and Matthew Scheatzle, on view July 14 to August 25. Though the three artists create vastly different works, they are united by practices that privilege iteration, fragmentation, and an aesthetic of multiplication, in which component parts unfurl to form a whole.
Jenifer Kent works with black ink on clay-coated panels, laying down thousands of marks that draw from an evolving visual vocabulary of short lines and small ovals and circles. She often starts in the center of the composition and works outward, so that the resulting forms recall organic or biological accretions. Divergence (2018), for example, features two layers that detonate from a central point, creating a torrent of energy reminiscent of a starburst. In other works, Kent builds up fields of marks whose energy and symmetry are expressed not as outward momentum but as a tension derived from internal interconnectedness; her new series Weft, for example, is based on intricate patterns inspired by knitting and weaving. Across the drawings, white space both holds the compositions together and offers moments of pause and silence. Kent observes: “My process is slow, iterative, and can be very meditative. . . . I am interested in drawing the hum of everyday life—acceleration, speed, and movement, and also in how to stop that movement both visually and experientially.”
Matt R. Phillips uses marquetry—a technique in which pieces of wood veneer are inlaid to create patterns or images—to describe fantastical architectural, botanical, and geometric worlds that hover between representation and abstraction. Each work presents multiple variations of a single scene, whether by repeating that scene across several panels or by combining the discrete variations into a single composition, as in more recent work. In Dinner at Deb’s (2016), for example, a captivating conglomeration of forms that recall rocks, mountains, plant life, and feathers, as well as masks or skulls, among other elements, unfolds across a grid of twenty units. It is then repeated six times, flipped, rotated, and assembled using different wood veneers, whose colors and grains push the variations to their limits without betraying their tonal or textural harmony. The resulting bilateral symmetry of this and other works enables one to see a given scene from different perspectives, thus encouraging both a more holistic and a more complicated reading. Viewers can enter the work at the same point within each variation but will ultimately encounter different formal and spatial relationships, and thus understandings, as they navigate a particular variation’s unique pathways.
Matthew Scheatzle meticulously cuts, sands, and fits together pieces of found wood to create imagery that is just beyond the realm of the recognizable. His works often contain something familiar, in certain cases, something nearly nameable—such as a portrait, a fragment of coral, a sea creature, a Rorschach test—but nothing is ever explicitly spelled out. Scheatzle explains that finding and describing those places that exist between representation and abstraction has
interested him since the beginning. He compares a given subject or genre to a clothes hanger, which he uses to hold up an idea that he has in mind for a particular work. Ultimately, however, the pursuit of inventive visual solutions and beauty are his primary preoccupations. Troubles, Braids (2017), for instance, bears a resemblance to a portrait in profile, but it avoids veering too closely to portraiture itself. Instead, Scheatzle presents a complex series of visual investigations that harness nuanced relationships between color, texture, and form, ricocheting the viewer between the work’s distinct aesthetic microcosms.
Jenifer Kent was born in New Jersey in 1971. She earned her BFA from Rutgers University in 1994 followed by her MFA from Mills College, Oakland, in 1999. In addition to exhibiting extensively across the West Coast of the United States, Kent has been the recipient of numerous prestigious awards and residencies.
Matt R. Phillips was born in Rockland County, New York, in 1987. He received his BFA in 2010 from the University of the Arts in Philadelphia. Phillips was a 2014 nominee for the American Craft Council Emerging Voices Award and has been reviewed in San Francisco Magazine, among other publications.
Matthew Scheatzle was born in San Francisco in 1972. He earned his BFA from Sonoma State University in 1997 followed by his MFA from Mills College in 1999. Scheatzle has been awarded several grants and fellowships including a 2013 grant from the Sustainable Arts Foundation.
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