Matt Paweski at Park View/Paul Soto (Contemporary Art Daily)

Park View/Paul Soto is pleased to announce Look out, Switch – Switch, Couples, Fountain, a solo exhibition with the Los Angeles based artist Matt Paweski. The show will open at 2271 W. Washington Boulevard in Los Angeles on December 16 with a reception from 3 to 6pm, and it will run through the New Year and the winter until February 9, 2019.

The abstract sculptures of Matt Paweski are paradoxical for their embrace of an extroverted eroticism that nevertheless maintains distance from full understanding or definition. Like the built environment and arranged nature of Southern California and the Southwest, they embrace an artifice that willfully obscures in their celebration of surface and finish. Paweski works through a kaleidoscope of references to utopian design, shaping a utilitarian aesthetic that is frozen by the non-communicative aspects of his works, in effect allowing each sculpture to assume its own agency in the world.

The artist constructs and assembles his sculptures with sensitivity and care, with painted contoured planes sutured together with rivets along a central axis. Exacting finishes in vivid color palettes highlight their at once enfolding and shattering compositions, all produced at the scale of the body. Swipes and zigzags cut into aluminum armatures embolden his arrangements with a graphic lyricism balanced between positive and negative. Yet the artist’s bold and unlikely formal assertions, and his halting geometries, upset any sense of stability or completion. A tension encircles the work instead that disperses purely visual contemplation, jettisoning viewers back into their own sensations and material reality at this moment.

Related here specifically is Paweski’s concern with how individuals are shaped by their interactions with infrastructures in public space. The ubiquity of one-to-one encounters with elements like gates, railings, drain pipes, fountains, and toilets conceals a politics of design based on constraints intended to maximize material durability and user-friendliness. Moreover the physical relationships that they actually shape produce personal feelings of individual pleasure and pain, inclusion and exclusion, and together they set in motion a host of improvised movements and gestures for indulgence and survival while traversing the built environment. The sculptures here call to mind these elements in scale, shape, and title.

The exhibition comprises four works in aluminum and vinyl paint. Paweski has chosen a deep palette here, tonally darker and more organic than ever before. Ochre, burgundy, hunter green, and black pervade with accents of yellow, chartreuse, baby blue, and fluorescent red. Wide, partially or fully enclosed hollow cylinders feature in each work, suggesting inward, infinite spaces or endless abysses that cannot be fully seen or grasped. These admixtures of natural and artificial hues and shapes are locked into sculptural bondage, with rhythmic rounds of bare aluminum rivets sheathing and restraining individual forms into larger wholes.

This is the artist’s most spare installation to date, with each work operating individually and then along an internal circuitry within the exhibition. Two of Paweski’s sculptures sit atop a long white table opposite one another. One work hovers on its own atop a plinth, and the last hangs on the wall horizontally, looking like an excised unit from a larger structure. His two smaller scale works rest on the white landscapes of their supports, inviting the eye in especially. The two larger works appear machine like and amplified in size, intensified and even menacing at just beyond the scale of the human body.

The artist has recently introduced certain matter-of-fact forms into his sculptures, appearing here as full- bodied aluminum rods running along the length of a composition or his hollow aluminum pipes mentioned before. These elements press up against more open volumes or emerge rhythmically from planar armatures. They possess the look of conduits or channels, forms with a literalness that absorb references to 20th century industrial design and more recent looks of technological infrastructure, siphoning energy across the Earth. They extend up and out with large tubular volumes and flat sloping planes, all held together as voluminous yet empty bodied arrangements that seem to grasp more plainly than ever before to the reality of things.

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