It Comes in Waves
Mat Humphrey is a British Artist and curator who is based in London. For his first exhibition at New Art Projects he has created an extraordinary series of new paintings. Each work appears on first inspection to be an experiment with pure process, images created by a particular method of applying oil to board, however these new paintings reference two major themes in his work, quite literally seen in a new light.
Historically Humphrey has made images that refer to the bed of the sea, making monochrome landscapes that explore the vegetation of the seabed and the fauna that grows there – from urchin shells, seaweed, whale skin, sand ripples and coral.
“It Comes in Waves” looks at how water reacts to both light and to sound. Humphrey has re-worked his monochrome palette and his flawless application of oil paint, to create a sense of movement. These new paintings document the refraction of light through water and the patterns created by sound. How energy is transferred through waves. The surface of these works however is flawless and strangely devoid of human mark, as if the ripples and contours of the paint had been made by water or the movement of light.
The palette of these works pays homage to the international language of OP Art. The monochrome and undulating lines and dots of Bridget Riley or the geometric compositions of Victor Vasarely. However these new paintings also reference an on-going exploration in contemporary installation and the experimental work of Carsten Nicolai (Alva Noto), who explores the images made by sound and water.
These are Mat Humphrey’s darkest paintings to date; they suggest the deep dark parts of the ocean where light and sound barely penetrate. We feel like we are looking up at the light from a great depth and rather than considering the sea bed from above, we are contemplating the way the light hits the surface of the water from below.
His work is represented in international collections including ; those of Bryan Adams, Damon Albarn, Simon Fuller, Roland Mouret, Suzette Field and Viktor Wynd.
Work No. 55, 2017, oil on board, 29 x 34 cms.