Local Artist Matthew Gallagher to Debut 40 Pieces at Canopy Collective

In addition to his work in the Oberlin Connection show at Doubting Thomas in Tremont this Friday evening, Cleveland-based artist Matthew Gallagher will debut 40 new works on paper at Canopy Collective’s 1090 Club. The exhibition opens with a reception this Friday, Aug. 14 from 6 to 10 p.m.

“Matthew Gallagher is a truly unique artist to encounter,” says Canopy Collective co-founder Erika Durham. “He finds inspiration everywhere he looks, which is evident in the wide array of experimental techniques used to create his beautiful images and sculptures. His work always warrants taking a second, or even third look. We are thrilled to be hosting a show of entirely new works by Matthew, highlighting his projects with magnetic fields and solvent drawings.”
Gallagher is a recent graduate of Oberlin College’s studio art program. His studio practice includes an eclectic array of traditional and nontraditional media and experimental processes. For this exhibition, Gallagher will present new works on paper.

“Previously, my solo exhibitions have been large scale acrylic paintings on panel,” explains Gallaher. “I am excited to work within the works on paper framework because it feels more like sketching. This exhibit showcases the most powerful chemical processes regularly used in my studio. I'd have sessions in my studio leading up to this exhibition where I would make 30 to 40 paintings a night. The way pieces conversate when you are finished with an evening’s worth of work tells a story. Syntax is a key word. The successes and failures of each piece are clarified more easily in syntax and editing out the works you want to show is really fun.”

These new works explore solvent fluid dynamics and magnetic fields in Gallagher’s experimental and evolving creative process. He draws influence from unlikely sources.

“I started drawing with solvents after learning about the use of chromatography in forensic science,” elaborates Gallagher. “We may not realize it at first, but inks are really made up of a bunch of different colors. I decided to experiment with powerful solvents to break up the pigments in inks and get some really interesting chance-based visual effects in my work. The process is simple—make a doodle on paper using various inks and then pour a bunch of solvent on it. Walk away and let the fluid dynamics and chemistry complete the piece. This process is also informed by buddhist drawing practices where water is used to transform ink drawings on silk.”

Gallagher’s introduction into magnets began with a serendipitous encounter with his studio neighbors.
“My neighbors in the Heller building got me into magnets,” he ellaborates. “They were working on building a Searl energy generator and we started brainstorming about using magnets in visual art. After doing some initial R&D, I got ahold of some very powerful permanent magnets as well as some homemade electromagnets. Using ferrous material and acrylics, I make my own magnetized paint and experiment with manipulating it with magnetic fields. It’s almost like using a photoshop drawing tool in real life—very fun. I can't stress enough the enormous power of magnetism and the respect one must have for these magical objects.”

Gallagher’s work is typically created similarly to the scientific method. He creates specific formulas and variables and processes them with an incorporated element of chance. The results are never the same twice, and as a viewer, you never know what to expect next.

“I learned early in my art career that a lot of artists' choices with regards to material are based on safety and convenience,” Gallagher reveals. “Watercolor, acrylic, charcoal, etc. are all non-toxic and easy to clean. Those limitations can facilitate wonderful creative practice, but I wanted to get my hands dirty with some really intense materials. Eventually I'd like to have a sort of chemistry/physics lab geared exclusively towards visual experimentation. I love the chance influence using strong reactive chemicals and powerful magnetism brings to my studio. Working with these processes represents a non-institutional method for experimentation and scientific research based in a visual arts framework.”

Works of Paper: Fields/Solvent opens with a reception this Friday, Aug. 14 from 6 to 10 p.m. in the 1090 Club at Canopy Collective. Entertainment provided by DJs Kiernan Laveaux and Father of Two. Work will remain on view in the 1090 Club through the weekend and in the Canopy Store for the next month.

(Canopy Collective) 3910 Lorain Ave., canopy-collective.com/
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