Sunday, June 17, 2018

Matt Oman's Species of Art

Unconventional means someone who doesn't follow conventions. Matt Oman's garage is not a garage at all. It's an art gallery. I've known people who can't use their garages because they're so full of clutter. I have not known any who turned their garage into a gallery. (I do know a few who have converted their garage into an art studio though.)

Friday I went to visit Matt Moan and see what's new in his spaces. (His home is itself an art gallery as well.) The images here on this page are from his garage.

Something I've always enjoyed in his art is the unexpected. One of his pieces has this message on it: I have been abducted by aliens. Now how do I tell my parents and who knows what else I have to do.


How do you top that? The compositions vary. Some are catchy and all intriguing. Most are compositions in the range of 9"x 12" or slightly larger. His pieces show a fascinations with symmetry, sensuality, global themes, color themes -- once again primarily highlighting red blue green and yellow -- dimensions, and unusual juxtapositions,

Recurring patterns and themes include Lincoln,  and faces that appear contemplative, thoughtful, concerned, and not necessarily cheerful.

There is a piece that has these readings on it: the nature of earth, There are 7 billion, greed, necessity, Johnson, how will you deal with it, economic growth, unemployment, inflation, the balance of trade, etc. There is the famous Japanese wave and four tiny maps of Korea in flux during its war years. May 1950, is half red half green. September 1950 is almost totally over run by red. November 1950, the green is now moved up almost totally taking the peninsula. July 1953 we see North Korea and South Korea divided again.


Another piece has a hand written, “I am the United States of America” and then "I am mutated."

Baseball is another recurring theme. Sports. Nature.

I was also invited to take a tour of the house again. His dog Species passed away this spring, which was exceedingly painful. The dog food company sent him a small painting of a white Labrador retriever like his own companion, in an expression of supreme knowing. Matt called the loss of Species his "worst day ever."

I look on his bookshelf and see all great books such as these: The Jungle, Ron Chernow's Alexander Hamilton, the complete short stories of Mark Twain, Light in August, Team of Rivals, Black Elk Speaks, and the book I hold in my hand, David Foster Wallace‘s Infinite Jest. There is Demian by Hermann Hesse, another book that influenced me when I was young, The Idiot by Dostoevsky, The Diary of Anne Frank, A Farewell To Arms, Coal, Elie Wiesel's Night, a book on Huey Long, a book by Steinbeck, A Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, Rabbit Is Rich by John Updike, The Age of Analysis and 1984.



The whole effect of being here is to make me want to try new endeavors that I’ve not tried before, to experiment. On one of the doors there is large piece of paper filled with names written in different colors on it. What names would I write if I were to just hand-write a long list of names in different colors? I’m just not sure what I would find off the top of my head but it would be an interesting experiment, a means of self discovery, a way of seeing possible new relationships within my own subconscious self.

Here was another interesting statement on a downstairs wall: “Michelangelo, arguably the greatest painter and sculptor of our time, came to believe architecture is the highest form of art proper.”


In short, the visit was stimulating. Much like the discharge of an incoming stream stirs up the sediment on the bottom of a pond, so my own thoughts were stirred anew.


Related Links
Matt Oman's Series of Art
Duluth Man's Home Is His Canvas
The Memory Palace

Meantime, art goes on all around you. Get into it.

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