Matt Connors ‘Finder’

Installation view 'Finder', The Modern Institute, Aird's Lane, 2023
The Modern Institute, 3 Aird's Lane, Glasgow

The title of Matt Connors’ exhibition speaks to process, to a form of mystical search, and also serves as a nod to the sifting and filtering of images and documents on a computer – Finder is the name of the default Apple file manager. It is at this juncture – of sifting, looking, refining – that Connors introduces these new works.

Connors’ paintings are created through a process of layering and re-working forms gleaned from his immediate environment. Each piece has a specific origin in the world, be that a found image, a sketch or a photograph. In the process of drawing and painting, the recognisable aspects of these sources are subsumed into new compositions.

There are various complex relationships between the works shown across Aird’s Lane and the Bricks Space; shapes repeat, sections are squared-up, elements of drawing remain visible in the paintings, and Connors’ calligraphic brushwork hovers within delineated zones. The exhibition involves the viewer in this game of making. The works have a sense of redrafting, their surface a record of thought. And the gradual development or elaboration of an image-idea can be tracked via the connections between pieces.

Materially, the works mark something of a departure for Connors, as they now combine acrylic and oil paint, forming a set of competing textures. Across several of the drawings and paintings a black lattice frames the compositions. These have a kind of arboreal intensity, a kind of busyness that draws you in. Other pieces are more spartan and geometric – ludic even. There are pawn-like forms, a yellow checkerboard, and circular counters. These forms are sharp, curtailed, and isolated. Across the exhibition, there is an emphasis on the poetry of material and paint, but also a happiness to show ‘working’. Connors’ more abstract pieces are punctuated by a lone floral form in both spaces – a kind of outlier but also an image that speaks to a process of change and growth. A looking, and movement towards light.

Selected solo exhibitions include ‘Invert’, Lismore Castle Arts (2022); ‘Figure’, The Modern Institute, Glasgow (2019); ‘The Flat Voice’, The Modern Institute, Glasgow (2016); ‘Zonder’, Karma, Amagansett, New York (2014); White Flag Library, Saint Louis (2013); ‘Reverse Telescopes with Inflected Baffles’, KARMA, New York (2013); ‘Impressionism’, MoMA PS1, New York, (2012); ‘Gas…Telephone…One Hundred Thousand Rubles’, Kunsthalle Düsseldorf (2011) and Concentrations 54: Fergus Feehily and Matt Connors, Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas (2011).

Connor’s work has been included in numerous group exhibitions such as Whitney Biennial 2022: Quiet as It’s Kept’, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (2022); ‘I Know Where I’m Going • Who Can I Be Now’, The Modern Institute, 14—20 Osborne Street, Glasgow (2021); ‘L’almanach 18’, Le Consortium, Dijon (2018); ‘New York Painting’, Kunstumuseum Bonn (2015); ‘The Forever Now: Contemporary Painting in an Atemporal World’, MoMA, New York (2014); ‘Outside the Lines: Painting: A Love Story’, Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston (2014); ‘Painter Painter’, Walker Art Center, Minneapolis (2013) and ‘Collaborations & Interventions’, Kunsthalle Andrax, Mallorca (2012).