Marlborough is pleased to present 0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, a solo exhibition of new sculptures by Los Angeles-based artist Matt Johnson. Working in painted cast-bronze, carved and painted wood, and with cleverly manipulated found objects, Johnson continues his practice of connecting the quotidian to the cosmic, and the vernacular to canonical art history.
A googly-eyed swan and frog, fashioned from found shells and that might be found in a seaside gift shop, are scaled up in clay and then cast in bronze and painted. The results are Sphynx-like sentries or caryatids ennobling the source material without sacrificing its charm. The artist continues a series of wooden sculptures that use various forms of bread to create both figures and formal abstractions. For a figure seated cross-legged, a boule forms the head, a whole wheat loaf the body, and carved and painted baguettes become limbs. With palms facing up, resting on the knees, the figure is either pondering transcendence or begging for nourishment—full of mind or empty of belly, or vice versa or both.
Elsewhere, stacked loaves take a pyramid shape and the spiraling pattern of the Fibonacci sequence that gives the show its numerical title. This, along with a black hole in a carved wooden pizza box and a painted work depicting deep space on a found tarp, signals Johnson’s longtime interest in mathematics, mysticism and the anthropological history of art as framing devices for material investigations.
Johnson approaches these works with a sense of humor that never eclipses his reverence and wonder, and believes in the ability of humble objects to carry the DNA of grand ideas with a vestige of something eternal.
Matt Johnson (b. 1978, New York, NY) received his B.F.A. from Maryland Institute College of Art, Baltimore, MD and his M.F.A from the University of California, Los Angeles, CA, while also completing a residency at Fondazione Ratti, Como, Italy. He has exhibited widely at international venues, including the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego, CA; New Orleans Museum of Art, LA; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, MN; FLAG Art Foundation, NY; 11th Tiennale für Kleinplastik, Fellbach, Germany; Mori Art Museum, Tokyo, Japan; Hydra Workshop, Hydra, Greece; Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art, Oslo, Norway; and Reykjavik Art Museum, Reykjavik, Iceland.
His work is included in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art, New York; Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA; Pérez Art Museum Miami, Miami; Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art, Oslo, Norway; and Ekebergparken Sculpture Park, Oslo, Norway. Johnson currently lives and works in Los Angeles.