Weird, Strange, and Morbid: Charles Matton, the Unappreciated/Unrecognised Artist

Charles Matton (1)

I think in my previous posts, that I’m sure all of you have read and become dedicated CultureHe(ART)s readers – its apparent of my style of art (aka K’s style) exemplifies the WEIRD, STRANGE, and the MORBID. This is why when I stumbled upon the French artist Charles Matton (1931 – 2008), I was overwhelmed with happiness and curiosity. I want to share that with you. I won’t bore you to death with a biography and list of works, but I will give you a little rant on why I think he’s so great. Maybe you’ll like it, maybe you won’t.

What strikes me about Matton and his work is he was an innovator, a REBELLIOUS artist. During the Modernist period when abstraction was a predominant mode of painting and sculpture, Matton diverged. I think this was brave. He believed that abstract reality when in front of you becomes beautiful. He would paint bouquets, heads, flowers – and painting was not his sole medium. Matton has done everything from sculpture to collage to films, you name it, he’s done it.

Charles Matton (14)

What strikes me most about his work, is his undeniable love for reality and being able to find beauty in the strange, the foreign – whether it be morbid such as his masochistic photographs, his pregnant sculptures or attempting to infiltrate the minds of the great artists such as Bacon and Giacometti (he created some wonderful small collages of their studios that you can look at for hours).

Charles Matton died in 2008, and this is why I am writing about him now. I think he was very under appreciated and unrecognised due to the overshadowing of modernist art and his divergence from it. He’s a bit kooky and weird – but hey who isn’t? And as I always say, “if your not weird than you are not normal.”

Charles Matton (15)

What does your He(ART) think? Strange? Morbid? Beautiful?

Peace Out, K.

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Highlights and Downfalls @ Sotheby’s Contemporary Art Auction Evening Results May 14, 2013

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Last night, some GREATNESS went down at Sotheby’s in NYC. For starters, Barnett Newman’s Onement VI (above) sold not only over the high estimate, but sold over the artists’s highest record at auction for his painting for 43,845,000 USD  (Hammer Price with Buyer’s Premium). 

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Gerhard Richter’s Domplatz (above) did not break the high estimate but still took in a hefty 37,125,000 USD. Not too shabby, Richter.

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Francis Bacon’s Study for a portrait of his lover did not sell. And I am not shocked – I even predicted this myself. Last time Bacon paintings were at auction with Sotheby’s (this year) they did not sell either. Perhaps this indicates people do not want to look at twisted psychological portraits of others… But I still respect Bacon. Maybe in a few years his work’s will pick back up in the auction world.

Well, while Sotheby’s was hoping to bring in close to 400 million with this auction, they barely made it to 300 million. But hey, that’s the art market. You never know what to expect. For the rest of the results check them out here. It is shocking to see Warhol, Basquiat, and even Rothko not selling. WHO DOESN’T WANT A WORK FROM ONE OF THESE FABULOUSSSSSS MEN? This is not to say the market is not in favour of them, for if anything, I believe these men, especially Basquiat currently is being highly sought after.

So right now all we have are these results. Until ze next auction!

And mazel to those who purchased some EXTRAORDINARY art.

Catch you later kids.

XX, DP

Francis Bacon’s Muse – Isabel Rawsthrone

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You may think something is wrong with this person’s face… but it is Francis Bacon’s way of creating a portrait – which can be found in the TATE (Modern). It is a portrait of Isabel Rawsthrone. Bacon and Rawsthrone were close friends and after Rawsthorne’s death in 1992 Bacon admitted they had an AFFAIR (even though he was gay – apparently – who knows, who cares, but tres scandalous). In a statement to Paris Match confessed, “You know I also made love to Isabel Rawsthrone, a very beautiful woman who was Derain’s model and Georges Bataille’s girlfriend.” As such, unlike any of his other female sitters of which could only be counted on one hand, Rawsthorne became his MUSE.

Bacon had no FORMAL training. Bacon’s earlier portraits were created by means of having his subject present. His portraits beginning in the 1960s were developed based off of photographs and focused in on facial features. Bacon only painted those who he knew intimately – Lucian FREUD, George Dyer, Henrietta Moreas, Muriel Belcher, and Isabel Rawsthrone to name a few.

While his brilliant portraits evolved from photographs taken by John Deakin, the final result was one that which could be described as phenomenological – the idea that his paintings go beyond the physical attributes of the exterior and exemplify inner truths.

Bacon’s portraits could further be understood as influenced from Surrealism and Abstraction, where a duality exists within each painting: between thought and form, life and death. Nevertheless, Bacon captures Rawsthrone’s physicality such as her arched brows, high forehead, and accentuated cheek bones; however, he has done so in an intriguing way that navigates the cusp of abstraction and figuration in relinquishing the human form through his distorted yet incredibly powerful techniques of portrayal. Bacon elaborates in his discussion with Sylvester, “What I want to do is distort the thing far beyond the appearance, but in the distortion to bring it back to a recording of the appearance.”

The artist’s ENERGETIC brush strokes are contrasted with smudged contours and blurred boundaries as if he is trying to reveal an open form that is trapped within its own subsistence. Bacon removes screens and veils to uncover truths about existence through fusing the notions of paint and the idea against a stark background, which brings the portrait to appear to have a floating appearance. The artist’s work of his dear friends in the 1960s exhibit and suggest a psychological rendering.

Check out this work at our FAVOURITE museum in London – Tate Modern. Embrace those around you. Find your muse. Go with the flow.

XX, DP