I attended the  recent “blackout” art exhibition at Howley’s Restaurant in West Palm Beach, Florida. Do see the show. It is located at 4700 South Dixie Highway in West Palm Beach, Florida and will be up until the end of the month.

Matty Goldstein’s light boxes stole the show. They are Pop inspired kaleidoscopes caught in moments of time, small vibrant billboards with symbols of the natural world, for example  a buffalo and  chicken that float in a field of popular icons like Elvis and www avatar-like imagery.

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I asked the artist to tell me about his artistic process while he ate dinner with two friends. He described it as one of construction and deconstruction,  a metaphor for  humanity’s search for self in our natural world now dominated by information technology.

Matty was born in New Haven, Connecticut in the US and was raised in the nearby woods, about sixty miles north of NYC.  In January of 2000 at the age of 17, he enrolled at The School of the Museum of Fine Arts, in Boston. While there  he was involved in the local art scene.  He was one of four members in a collective known as “The Assembly”.  From murky basements to fine art galleries,  they wrecked havoc through provocative performance, installation and mixed media displays.

In the summer of 2003, Matty got a gig as an intern for the prestigious Christie’s Auction House, in New York City.  While there he learned about research and how to  the sell art.  He set up the sound system and image catalogue for auctions and became remarkably efficient with a photocopy machine.  While working in an upscale environment  he spent his evenings in the city’s squats and parks.

He returned to Boston with a 1985 Buick Electra. Matty received his Diploma in December of 2003.  Between his bike messenger experience, painting, warehouse work and telecommunications, Matty surived to begin work on his 5th year project.  This was a year of intense independent work towards a professional gallery show.  In 2004-2005 he was an intern for the Gallery Artist Studio Project (GASP).  GASP was owned and run by internationally celebrated artist Maria Magdelena Campos Pons. During this year, he worked closely with her as well as his main mentor Gerry Bergstein.  For the 5th Year Show, Matty displayed a massive room installation accompanied by 5 painting/assemblages that are, “bigger than you”. His installation was moved for permanent insallment at GASP Gallery in Brookline, MA.  After a year of display the city complained that the installation worked as a dwelling for rats.  The art was removed .

After completing his studies at the Museum School, Matty went to California to relocate in Los Angeles.  While in LA he worked for Martin Lawrence Galleries as an assistant curator.  He worked with artwork by Picasso and Warhol and restored damaged pieces in the Martin Lawrence inventory.  At the time he was hopelessly strung out on heroin. He  returned to the East Coast to kick his habit.  He bounced  between Connecticut and New Jersey. He was eventually sent  to sunny Florida for rehabilitation in February 2007.

In Florida Matty teamed up with IWAN, BTW and has been making artwork. He is in full swing.  His new light box series is a result of work in the sign industry. He told me  that he searched for a new medium for his sledgehammer.  In time, his “Barricade” installation at the IWAN concept production facility will develop. Stay tuned!

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