Galleries and museums are all fine, but they can sometimes be rather bland and impersonal affairs. You know, white walls, empty spaces and an overall sense of detachment from the actual art on show. That’s why we like studio shows so much. They immerse you in the artist’s world, draw you in and impregnate you with the sweat stench of the artist’s daily struggle. Just for a minute, you actually get an idea of what it is like to spend your entire day in front of a blank canvas, freezing your arse off in a barely-heated and poorly-lit space.
Brussels-based artist Matthew Crasner popped up on our radar about three years ago. At the time, his work was anchored in a deep street sensitivity, his brush stroke tilting more towards the urban than the classic. You got a feeling that he hadn’t yet made the transition from art student to fully-fledged ‘artist’. Now, having got down to business in his Schaerbeek studio for the last three years or so, he emerges with a body of work so strong and singular that you’d be forgiven for thinking that it was the work of someone entirely different. Playing with a contrasting palette of colours (he mixes black, grey and white with splashes of yellows and greens), his world is made up of intriguing characters – some tribal warriors, others office workers – whose intensity of character is made all the more poignant with Crasner’s realist and relatively heavy strokes. The work he produces at the moment is without a doubt serious in its approach and intent, but remains light-hearted and tongue-in-cheeked in its substance. “I just started painting for my own pleasure,” says Matthew when we spoke to him on the phone last week “I got tired of painting for people’s appreciation and feedback.”
Joining forces with studio neighbour Christine Philipp, the pair open their doors this weekend for what promises to be an intimate and insightful peak into the universe of what is, to us, one of the up-and-comers on the local art scene.
Day In Day Out
Opens Friday, 20th May 20th 2011 at 18h00
Runs until Sunday 22nd May until 18h00