Smith Andersen Editions, Palo Alto, CA
Lola, "Mixed Media Collage", Berkeley, CA (solo)
111 Minna Gallery, "The Novemberists", SF
The Breakfast Group, "For Every Passer-by", Berkeley, CA (solo)
Gallery Extraña, "Defiant Optimism", Berkeley, CA
In vitro Gallery, "I Put It Back In Order For You", Chicago, IL (solo)
Johansson Projects, "Crossing the Delaware", Oakland, CA
Soap Gallery, "Pull Here to Get Everything You Want", SF (solo)
Art House, "Before My Rushing Heart", McAllen, TX
Adobe Books Backroom Gallery, "Let Her Make A Speech for Me", SF (solo)
The Hive Art Salon, "New Works", SF
Hayes Vallery Art Market, "Flood", SF
Lincart Gallery, "Walking in the Street", SF (two-person show)
Live Worms, "Eight at the Gate", SF
a.Muse Gallery, "Waxwing & Kite", SF (two-person show)
ART LTD / WEST COAST ART + DESIGN, Reviews July 2007
Matt Gonzalez at LINCART
Here is the relevant information: In 2003, Matt Gonzalez was the president of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, and at that time he also made an insurgent, under-funded run for mayor as a Green Party candidate, coming alarmingly close to winning the office. Soon thereafter, he returned to private life, no doubt contenting himself with the fact that many of his innovative political ideas found some implementation in the city’s new and forward-looking government. Now Gonzalez is back in the public eye, but not because of his political activities. Instead, he returns as a self-taught artist who makes intimate, witty and charming collage works, 25 of which are on view in this exhibition. The temptation to read these works as imaginary records of the process of a “picking up the pieces” that we might assume comes along with the retreat from public life is all but irresistible.
But resist we shall, because these works are far too accomplished to be constrained by such a mono-dimensional reading. Although they tend to be quite small, they are quite sophisticated in their evocation of the collage works of the Beat era, as well as the more canonical precedents established by collage artists such as Kurt Schwitters and Robert Motherwell. Which is to say that most of the works are earmarked by their elegance and restraint, as well as their focused attention to the aesthetic subtleties of color and shape relationship.
Each of these works is also enriched by the qualities of specific encounter, and many sport the date of their creation as parts of their composition, suggesting that they are singular entries into a cryptic diary. The components that Gonzalez uses from one piece to the next suggest that they are extracted from a specific walk through a given neighborhood. When we look at one of the larger works, titled Number 4 is Getting Buried (all works are from 2007), we see a diagonal composition of various paper fragments, including package typography, cigar bands and crumpled receipts—much the same stuff as would be found in one of Schwitters’ Merzpictures from the 1920s and ’30s. The difference lies in Gonzalez’s elegant lyricism, which gives his work a more introspective character. This attribute is particularly evident in one of the smallest works—a particularly spare composition titled Is That It? No bigger than a postcard, this work’s precise arrangement of a very few visual incidents proves that a big experience can come in a very small package.
—Mark Van Proyen