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Jan 11, 2017
8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Waldorf Art Gallery

Paintings by Matthew Willemsen exhibit

Matthew is a graphic designer, artist, and design educator that uses the visual language of graphic design to create works of art. With twenty years of freelance graphic design experience and sixteen years of collegiate teaching in this field, he draws upon the visual elements of graphic design—type, image, and symbol—for inspiration and as a conceptual basis for his creative explorations. His work has been shown in regional group shows at the Arts Center of St. Peter, the 410 Project Gallery in Mankato, and the Cynthia Binger Boynton lobby gallery at the McKnight Foundation and most recently a solo exhibition at Upper Iowa University in Fayette, Iowa.
Matthew's work explores ideas of symbolism and abstraction through the use of various iconic visual elements often employed in the creation of brand identities—Color, pattern, symbol, typography, iconography, layout, and texture. These fundamental elements serve as the foundation for creating distinctive and memorable brand identities for companies, products, and individuals and in my creative work serve as a point of departure to produce work that abstractly responds to the prevalent nature of brand identities in our culture.
To create the paintings, he employs traditional painting techniques, stencils, and an airbrush to apply multiple layers of color in a spontaneous and reactive manner until an optimal environment has been created. In some instances, large areas of these layered surfaces are concealed to bring attention to a single form.
Most recently, his paintings have departed from a rectangular or square substrate to a shaped panel that derives its form from elements of brand identities. Although not specific in nature, the shapes allude to forms such as the anatomy of letterforms, badges, symbols, and signage. This work sits off the wall and in some cases has multiple planes, which enhances the “object-like” or “sign-like” nature of the form. In this way, the image/form could be perceived as a symbol to represent something. Though formally, this work is an exploration of color and space and his attempt to push the viewer into the work with atmospheric planes and to pull them back to the surface with flat opaque fields.

The art exhibit will be on display from January 11-February 24. An artist reception will be Thursday, January 12 from 5:30-7:30 p.m. with artist talk at 6:30 p.m.