Museum  December 13, 2017  Megan D Robinson

Matt Saunders Blurs Boundaries at SLAM

Courtesy of the artist and Marian Goodman Gallery © Matt Saunders

Matt Saunders, “Jane (Johnny) #1”, 2017; unique C-Print on Kodak Endura Premiere matte paper.

Currents 114: Matt Saunders, the latest exhibition in the Saint Louis Art Museum’s popular series showcasing current and emerging artists, opened November 17th. Saunders' mixed-media work incorporates his own imagery with those from avant-garde film and found photography. Melding painting, photography, animation, and printmaking, Saunders’ exhibit creates an interactive experience of perception and transformation. This free exhibition encourages visitors to examine the relationships not only between Saunders' works but between his show and the rest of the museum.

Courtesy of the artist and Marian Goodman Gallery © Matt Saunders

Matt Saunders, “Double Jane (Johnny)”, 2017; unique C-Print on Kodak Endura Premiere matte paper.

Saunders noticed special exhibitions often feel “hermetically sealed,” and wanted to create an environment that related to the surrounding space. There are multiple ways to enter this exhibition, all with important sight lines out into the greater museum. Saunders sought “to think of the museum as a vessel in which other works are directly visible from my rooms, and these connections can be woven intentionally into the experience.” Works inside and outside are consciously juxtaposed to create relationships. All of the work within the exhibition also interacts. Five video screens hung throughout the two galleries create a “walking movie” experience, requiring visitors to move through the galleries to see everything. Saunders says “the room is a space in which the work is circulating and you’re circulating with it,” adding “it’s a porous space.” His paintings, figurative etchings, photograms, and animations comment on each other, encouraging visitors to examine their intertextuality. The theme of the nature and evolution of imagery creates a dialogue as each piece “passes the baton” to the next. 

Currents 114 is on view until February 4, 2018, and was curated by Hannah Klemm. For more information, visit http://www.slam.org/exhibitions/currents114.php 

About the Author

Megan D Robinson

Megan D Robinson writes for Art & Object and the Iowa Source.