New American Paintings/Blog


Historical Lineage: Q&A with Matthew Craven by New American Paintings

Much of Matthew Craven’s meticulous work exists as both colorful abstraction and surreal historical document. His transformation of  images appropriated from history textbooks nudge and reconfigure the original historical narratives. And his modular treatment of familiar forms unexpectedly activates their hidden potential for abstraction. Painting, drawing, collage and installation are linked in Craven’s practice through his fastidiously precise lines, which run across works and from project to project. Last week I caught up with the Brooklyn-based artist — whose work is currently in the group show Paper Chasers at Nudashank — to talk about his work, his influences, and time travel. Our conversation, and lots of images, after the jump. -Matthew Smith, D.C. contributor


Matthew Craven | wooden teeth., 2010, mixed media, 17″ x 13″ courtesy of the artist
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The Shape Of Things To Come by openstudiospress

TOP: Tracy Thomason (left) and Stacy Fisher (right), BOTTOM: Maria Walker. Installation views, The Shape Of Things To Come at NUDASHANK, Baltimore.

NUDASHANK’s progressive bent can make most local commercial galleries seem downright uncouth. Arguably the crown jewel of Baltimore’s thriving DIY artist-run spaces, NUDASHANK routinely showcases emerging artists that are on a firm upward trajectory, like Nick Van WoertMatthew CravenAlex Lukas, and Benjamin Edmiston (included in the current MFA Annual edition of New American Paintings).

Currently on view in NUDASHANK’s expansive downtown space are the works of Brooklyn-based artists Stacy FisherTracy Thomason, and Maria Walker, all of whom work at the intersection of sculpture and painting to varying degrees. Co-curated by gallery founders and co-directors Alex Ebstein and Seth Adelsberger (editions #45, #57, #75), The Shape Of Things To Come, a title with fateful connotations borrowed from a novel by H.G. Wells, is as airy as it is grounded in familiar materials and forms.  —Matthew Smith, DC contributor 

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