- Oil on jute
- 13" x 9"
"‘Contained Shadow’ was part of my 2022 exhibition Dissipatio at Nationale. In this small work I wanted to find extremely simple ways to convey a sort of uneasiness or uncanniness. The small piece of paper holding a vaguely head shaped shadow straddles the line between recognition and abstraction."
- William Matheson
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Born in Los Angeles, CA; based in Portland, OR
In his highly textured paintings, William Matheson conjures up contemporary gothic moments that inspire the viewer to free-associate. Often at night, Matheson applies thin layers of oil paint with unusual tools such as rags and glass scrapers as well as brushes. He works on jute, panel, and canvas—materials that can have unique bumps and facets. The combination of such techniques and media produces rough surfaces that lend a physicality to each composition. Matheson invites the viewer to take a careful look at each crater, accretion, and gap between marks.
With acidic colors and fields of black pigment, Matheson renders spectral figures and uncanny objects in claustrophobic spaces such as car interiors and his own studio. The artist uses window panes, curtains, shadows, and stacks of ephemera to frame or intersect his scenes. Such compositional devices make these works resemble postwar geometric abstractions; yet Matheson also draws inspiration from the late Gothic and early Renaissance painting canons. The artist materializes the hazy memories, surreal images, and fleeting experiences that haunt ordinary life.