Daina Mattis I Bona Fide
Nov 11 – Dec 9, 2017
Blue House Gallery, Dayton, OH

This body of work examines surface, imitation, process, forgery, consumption and perception. Through illusion, formalism and material, I slyly address the trajectory of our cultural norms. Works include paintings, drawings, sculptures and prints that reference the history of art, the Western food culture and the entertainment industry. Imagery of master copies, imitation food, and props used on film and television sets entice the viewer to consider how reality is mitigated in today’s culture and how craft is redefined.

Striving for compositional ideals, I utilize traditional design principles of symmetry, grids and the golden ratio. Opulence is embodied in elements of marble, French curves, doilies and columns; features that ornament and frame perception. The hard edges of the paintings are shared by the physical linen; stretched, raw, exposed and nude. Physical linen surfaces are featured as object and subject, challenging illusion while cross examining the craft of the formal applications of faux painting and trompe-l’oeil. 

The column sculptures are created from low density foam and imitate props used on television and film sets. While their titles reference Capitalism, their execution reflects its illusion. Monopoly is a column split in half and arching away from its origin, visually defining monopoly, yet playfully referencing other words that begin with the letter “M,” such as McDonalds, Money and Madness. Easily overlooked as a post, Capital is innocuous within the space, however, with time the foam becomes more obvious. And over the course of the exhibition the foam oxidizes to a yellow, similar in color to a French fry. 

The diptych, Social Decay, is created through the absence of a paper doily on stretched linen and particle board. By rotating each composition vertically, into a portrait format, I’m pointing to the identity of the surface. This parallels the compromise of materials as well as social practices, such as familial dinning. In a culture obsessed with the delusion of living forever, our manufacturing and consumption of the fake, temporary and disposable exemplifies our desire for control over the natural world and our hypocrisy of it.

The large work on paper, Scopophilia, reflects the love of looking and the surface tension that accompanies the vast history of art.  Acknowledging various art historical movements and practices on one surface is a nod to time and the significance they play upon one another.  Some historical movements and practices include Realism, Modernism, abstraction, appropriation, decorative arts, master copies and working from life. Imaged are detail copies from iconic works such as Norman Rockwell’s Knothole Baseball (Peephole) and Gustave Courbet’s The Origin of the World.  Without any direct visual imagery, this piece is an homage to Marcel Duchamp’s Étant Donnés, where the gaze is set upon a baseball pitcher on his mound from Rockwell’s Knothole Baseball (Peephole). Here the shared, public experience of sports is reveresed into one of intimacy and privacy, counteracting Courbet’s Origin of the World where an intimate moment becomes public and shallow.