Utilising the domestic character of Starkwhite's first floor galleries, Henry's installation, Vernacular Painting engages with the instability of language and content common to the histories of art and design.
Sited amidst the contexts of the white cube and the domestic interior, Henry's minimalist-like paintings play upon slippages created between the pieces and the gallery's architecture. Deliberately inviting uncertainty in the reading or perception of the work, Henry describes the pieces in Vernacular Painting as an "incongruous mix of the languages of 20th century abstraction, conceptualism and 21st century design."
Henry's interest in painting traces the process of commodification and semiotic re-coding that occurs through the appropriation and use of minimalism in contemporary design. Loaded with visual puns, the work plays upon the 'contextual openness' of reductive or minimal art. Exploring the origins, histories and contradictions imbedded in certain idioms, Henry's investigation endeavours to decode and record the vagaries of these forms.
Matt Henry graduated from Melbourne's RMIT University with an MFA in 2008. Recent solo shows and representation in group/thematic exhibitions include: ART HK10, Hong Kong (2010); Contraflow, Starkwhite (2010); Fahrenheit, Govett-Brewster Art Gallery, New Plymouth (2009); Doppelgänger, Starkwhite (2009); Living Together, Michael Hirschfeld Gallery, City Gallery Wellington (2007); Activating Korea, Govett-Brewster Art Gallery, New Plymouth (2007); Mostly Harmless: a performance series, Govett-Brewster Art Gallery, New Plymouth (2006); View, Govett-Brewster Art Gallery, New Plymouth (2004); and Bloom,High Street Project, Christchurch (2004).
Press release courtesy Starkwhite.