In Steven Spielberg’s seminal 1977 motion picture Close Encounters of the Third Kind, the character Roy Neary (played by Richard Dreyfuss) is overtaken by an uncontrollable urge to construct an imaginary landscape in his lounge room after witnessing flying objects late at night. He embarks on what appears to be an unreasonable adventure in order to seek out the origin of this landscape where believes he will meet the UFO’s again and associated aliens. This act of creative madness that consumes him also destroys his relationship with his wife and children. This overwhelming compulsion and focus to make art is familiar to many artists and the movie resonates in its portrayal of a kind of creative genius walking the thin line between truth and insanity. It can only be concluded that the drive to uncover something that has subjective, critical and cultural value is fraught with risk. Matthew Hunt’s latest exhibition The Armature continues his research into the dynamism between the individual and the wider community. The broad and subjective trajectory that Hunt maps out is the signature of his work. Hunt moves between personal references, moments and story telling and wider cultural and historical ideas. Hunt never forgets that he is making Art within a global continuum and that he must then become just another part of an historical framework. In this exhibition he explores what appears to be a persistent case of Pareidolia (the phenomena of faces appearing everywhere). Speaking in a recent interview Hunt gave a glimpse into his fractured subjective and historic narrative "It started as a suspicion; a sixth sense; a gut feeling. Nothing I could put my finger on per se, but it unnerved me. It was like the feeling of being followed, and this grew into the feeling that there was always a presence with me."
"My children play a game where I searched for them while they hid just outside my vision. They became a shadow. In time I became aware there was more than just the children behind me. Was I being haunted? Was this a poltergeist or poltergeists? Was this my Mother from the dead? Or was I just losing touch with reality? I started painting, loosely, without intent."
"I let my eyes look backwards to capture a glimpse of my visitors. My periphery became my focus. I started to examine my archive of images - looking for clues and associations to lead me out. I let the forms go free, the representations surface; I waited for a de-abstraction. Meanwhile I constantly watched the clock looking for missing time."
"I asked my cousin who I know had seen a UFO out on the Brand Highway near Eneabba to paint me a picture of the event. I asked my Uncle David about the meteorite impact site he took me to when I was a kid. I had the shock of Sigmar Polke dying. (I still hadn’t found my own meteor). I started to look for fulgurites in sand dunes. I became very interested in Lourdes and other miracle sites, collecting everything I could. I broke into the Lascaux Caves looking for evidence. I found where Uri Geller was living in Portugal and tried to make contact with him. By coincidence I kept meeting people who had known Joseph Beuys. And I came across Hector Jandany’s paintings. Then Mike Kelly died. I began to see everything as reflective and conceived my art objects could also be reflective so as to capture something that is maybe not here in the light. Everything was touching me on my shoulder, then lost in the past."
The Armature marks a struggle between Hunt and Art. Hunt’s work over the last few years has concentrated on a very direct form of art production by paring things down to basic materials; paper, pencil, paint, in order to locate a purity or essence of what it is to be human. Hunt’s work searches for simple forms because everything else is so complex. Yet within this framework Hunt has been forgoing the obvious path towards formalism and beauty. Hunt believes that the collision of all these elements does not necessitate Art that people like. Hunt likes this because then, just maybe, there is another form or dialogue to be discovered.
MH vs MH
All works and texts copyright Matthew Hunt or the appropriate Author.