There is a wistful sadness in the works of Matthew Rose, the American artist who has lived and worked in Paris since 1992. Born in 1959 in New York, the artist regards his collages, texts, drawings and objects as an open book, pages taken by the wind, writing that is readable by chance - in pieces, in fragments. Meanings cut with scissors like fleeting thoughts: A mirror of consciousness.
His narratives, constructed images that are often found, lost or most likely abandoned seek a noble reconstruction - if not an abstract or conceptual afterlife - in another universe that is sometimes surrealist, always realistic (made from elements of the world). Sometimes his works indicate a dissolution; lines dissolve in an abyss. Other times they are broken flowers, frozen in time. In his universe we find tears that are stars, a silence that is sung. An exhilarating void.
Matthew Rose created such a universe with massive ensembles of his works. "Spelling With Scissors" in Denver, Colorado in 2006, consisted of a thousand floor-to-ceiling collages, each wall filled with "doors" in the form of visual-verbal poems. Rose played with this overwhelming “fullness”: Across these walls dripping with meanings was an empty space save for a small framed all black gouache drawing, its scratched surface an echo of a moth’s meandering arcs in the night, an abstract stolen from the void.
Oh, and Matthew Rose is interested in reading, too: He placed binoculars to see from afar and a magnifying glass to study up close. His absurdities are endearing.
A graduate in Linguistics and Semiology from Brown University in the United States, Matthew Rose continues his research of the marriage of text and image - but also their divorce. And therein lies his sadness.
Matthew Rose has exhibited his drawings, collages, paintings and objects for 30 years across the United States, Europe, South America and Asia. His project "A Book About Death,” a collective exhibition launched in New York in 2009, circled the planet. His books “People” (2016) and “The Self Improvement Alphabet” (2019) are published by Red Fox Press (Ireland). His works are represented in private and public collections in the US, Europe and the Middle East. His Instagram is emblematic of his daily life, a journal-window on the world, pages linked to a deep, funny, serious, realistic and surreal research.