Heroic can come in many forms. More often than not it is content that signals the heroic. And yet, perhaps the most inventive form of the heroic in art slips under the radar in the guise of scale. This is certainly true of a medium that is often, if not always, associated with intimacy and touch. Ceramic is just such a medium and at LA Louver Matt Wedel confounds us with the heroic scale of an intimate medium. The disconnect is beguiling.
While heroic in scale and quantity, Wedel’s imagery remains intimate however. This further accentuates the tension. Clusters of multi-petaled flowers rise from bulbous forms and crystal structures. These flower shapes, which resemble artichokes, attract with warm pastel coloration. They also have a sharpness that implies danger much like the aforementioned artichoke or cactus.
Wedel’s figures are intimate for their naïve quality of depiction. Comically small breasts and even smaller penises adorn the large headed and torsoed figures. The heads and torsos may be swollen and balloon like but the arms and hands are delicate and ache for touch. The poses these characters strike are equally awkward and off balance. But this is not a tension that makes you wince. It solicits a curious empathy. In a couple of figures the pose is vintage Aristide Maillol but the tension of imbalance goes from grace to anticipation.
The glazes are applied abundantly and the fired colors dripping from flower to stem to base retain their once liquid appearance. Wedel also mixes matte and glossy effects that suggest a volcano of colors bubbling forth from within.
The exhibition flirts with being crowded but Wedel’s work avoids the trappings of quantity. The gallery is transformed into a garden, Wedel’s world and in this world nothing succeeds like excess.
- Mario M. Muller, Los Angeles, April 19th, 2013
Matt Wedel at LA Louver Through May 11th, 2013
45 North Venice Blvd., Venice, CA 90291
also by Mario M. Muller
- Mid-Century Modern at LAMA Auction House, Van Nuys - February 20th, 2014
- Robert Therrien at Gagosian, Beverly Hills - January 22nd, 2014
- Art Fair Season in Los Angeles - January 15th, 2014
- Roy Dowell at Various Small Fires - October 14th, 2013
- Leon Benn at Carter & Citizen - September 13th, 2013