Matt Flint prepares a ‘Forward Echo’ at Gallery MAR
What: Matt Flint’s “Forward Echo” artist reception and exhibition opening
When: 6-9 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 28
Where: Gallery MAR, 436 Main St.
What: Artist Talk with Matt Flint
When: 3 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 29
Where: Artist Lounge at Gallery Mar, 436 Main St.
Last autumn, visual artist Matt Flint took a trip to Amsterdam and Vienna to see works by many artists who influenced him.
While taking in the art of Vincent van Gogh, Gustav Klimt and Egon Schiele, the Wyoming-based Flint was inspired to create his new exhibit, “Forward Echo,” which will open Friday night at Gallery MAR during the Park City Gallery Association’s February Gallery Stroll.
The idea of the exhibit came to Flint when he began to realize how much French painter Jean-Francois Millet had influenced van Gogh.
“Van Gogh looked to Millet very directly, and I kind of put myself in the same continuum, of course, not on the same level, of how van Gogh had influenced me,” Flint said. “This art-historical connection got me to start pulling those inspirations into my work again.”
“Forward Echo” conveys how peoples’ actions impact later generations, according to Flint.
“It’s sort of a poetic idea that we will have an impact in the future,” he said. “Many times we’re so focused on living in the present and forget about our relationship with the past, so I started to think about how everything from the past is constantly coming forward and reintroducing itself in new ways.”
Flint returned to the United States in October and started working on 18 new paintings, which make up the exhibit.
“The idea of this historical art connection and paying tribute — sometimes subtle, sometimes directly — to my artistic heroes was a huge factor in guiding the work,” he said.
Flint creates his works, which depict wildlife and human portraits, with oils and mixed media, including metallic leafing.
“I have used gold and silver leaf in the past, but I now use a cheaper version that is a little more stable and less costly to work with,” he said.
The use of leafing ties into Flint’s love of contrasts.
“The material is important not just because it does interesting things compositionally, but because there is a spiritual significance,” he said. “There is that thought that sacred things deserve sacred material, and I see nature as that sacred thing.”
Still, Flint said he doesn’t use the leafing in a “loving way.”
“It gets torn and broken up and used in an almost disrespectful way,” he said with a laugh. “It gets to the point where it looks like it’s almost falling apart.”
The illusion of movement in these works is a direct nod to van Gogh and Klimt, Flint said.
“The artists I’m interested in all have some sort of activity in their paintings,” he said. “There is a quiet sense to the paintings, but there are also these active little bits and pieces that happen within.”
Flint also tries to make his creative process as exciting as possible, he said. Sometimes that means he purposely makes mistakes.
“If I start to feel too comfortable and things are going too well, I will choose a color that won’t work, or I will paint over a whole side of something so I have to respond in ways that makes me uncomfortable,” he said. “While I may have a thought about what a work will be like when I start it, it will change throughout the process. I’m a journey person. The process in making these paintings is way more interesting to me than the end product.”
In addition to attending Friday’s exhibit opening, Flint will also give an Artist Talk at 3 p.m. on Saturday at the newly opened Artist Lounge at Gallery MAR. (See accompanying story).
The presentation is titled “The In-between,” Flint said.
“It’s built around the idea that I have always loved the gray areas of life,” he said. “I know many people aren’t interested in gray areas as they are in massive contrasts that make bold statements, but I would much rather be in some weird, nuanced place where I don’t quite know the answers to everything. That’s a fun place to me.”
Flint has traced that philosophy back to his childhood.
“I grew up on a farm outside of Kansas City, Missouri, but went to school in the middle of the city,” he said. “The story of my life has been me in an odd middle place. I feel comfortable everywhere and at the same time don’t feel comfortable anywhere.”
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