Show Preview | Christopher Mathie

Cannon Beach, OR
White Bird Gallery, November 7-January 5

Christopher Mathie, Quiet Moment, mixed media, 18 x 36.

Christopher Mathie, Quiet Moment, mixed media, 18 x 36.

This story was featured in the December 2015 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Get the Southwest Art December 2015 print issue or digital download now–then subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss another story

On Saturday, November 7, White Bird Gallery unveils new works by Washington artist Christopher Mathie. Entitled Coastal Allusions, the show comprises 12 to 15 new paintings featuring coastal subjects and landscapes that border on pure abstraction. It opens with a reception for Mathie from 5 to 7 p.m.

“My work is emotional semiabstraction,” he says. “When I go into the studio, I am working from a place of my emotions. At times I literally throw paint at the canvas, then I coax it back into something more recognizable.” The mixed-media works are explorations in how much stimuli viewers can handle before they are overwhelmed. “As I’m painting I like to think about how many layers of color, texture, and emotion we can interpret simultaneously before it becomes sensory overload,” he says.

The more literal or representational works Mathie presents at White Bird Gallery are distinct from those found in his larger body of pure abstraction, and viewers will find in them entry points to larger and deeper conversations—complex ideas draped in tangible images that invite the viewer into a discussion. The works begin with a thick, textural layer of gesso, then acrylic undercoats and underlayers are followed by graphite or charcoal drawings and Sharpie paint. Mathie creates as many as six paintings simultaneously over a period of a month, he says, which results in series of works in which each painting informs the others.

Mathie says these works have an intention toward the life force or the instinct to thrive, as does all of his work. When people go through hard times, he asks, what is it in one person that makes him or her give up while another perseveres? “I always come back to [the idea that] I am going to thrive, and I want that to be present in my paintings,” he says. So even in the darkest of his works, viewers will find a spark, a symbol of something good.

“I think that Christopher is at an interesting point in his career,” says gallery owner Allyn Cantor. “I’ve seen him go through a lot of phases in his work. He’s hitting a stride, and we’re really excited to represent him.” —Laura Rintala

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Featured in the December 2015 issue of Southwest Art magazine–click below to purchase:
Southwest Art December 2015 print issue or digital download Or subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss a story!

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