Tag Archives: Photography

Into the Void #7

Screen Shot 2018-01-26 at 14.41.11Into the Void is an award-winning nonprofit print and digital literary magazine dedicated to providing a platform for fantastic fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and visual art. I am happy to contribute one of my photographs to the latest issue, which is now available to read online and in print.

The current issue can be read online at the link below.

https://intothevoidmagazine.com/current-issue/

Print copies of the magazine can be purchased from the store.

https://intothevoidmagazine.com/store/

Facebook

Twitter

Instagram

Screen-Shot-2018-01-26-at-14.47.50.jpg

Advertisements

Daily Serving – Article

logo-b-2-ver2

September 29, 2016 Written by Mailee Hung

http://dailyserving.com/2016/09/fan-mail-matt-lee/

There is a certain playful unknowability to Matt Lee’s work. As preoccupied with structure as its inverse, Lee’s pieces suggest an interaction with the intangible that is at once wholly serious and strangely lighthearted. Confronted by subjects like death, absence, and emptiness, a viewer might expect an oeuvre weighted down by existential dread, but in Lee’s work, these subjects become lively participants in conversation with their environs. Though they offer little in the way of consolation about oblivion, Lee’s pieces propose a wry characterization of the unknown that is rather cheeky; death may be coming, but it feels oddly familiar.

matt_lee-presence_of_absence-1

Matt Lee. Untitled, from Presence of Absence, 2011; archival inkjet print; 14.2 x 21.3 cm.

In the aptly named series Presence of Absence (2011), emptiness is a figurative entity intruding upon the mundane. Lee created this series in response to his move to Bangalore, as he tried to make sense of his new home. A viewer might imagine the artist being surrounded by signs full of meaning but rendered meaningless by unfamiliarity. In the series, absence is made into an insistent material presence. As this looming void becomes more tangible and undeniable, its character becomes almost approachable. In some works, there is an endearing shyness to the black masses peering over rooftops or peeking around buildings. Lee does not so much demystify oblivion as render it surprisingly friendly.

matt_lee-presence_of_absence-8

Matt Lee. Untitled, from Presence of Absence, 2011; archival inkjet print; 14.2 x 21.3 cm. 

Likewise, Lee’s Death Landscapes (2008–) feel oddly familiar despite their vague forms. Given Lee’s background in commercial illustration, all of his images have a distinctly graphic quality that makes elements of his work identifiable despite the fact that they address the fundamentally unknowable. The playfulness of Death Landscapes comes less from a direct characterization of death than from the oblique admixture of the abstract and the recognizable. A collage from Death Landscapes II (2015) is an eerie landscape, with ghostlike tendrils drifting upward from a dark island on the pale page. But from the center of this mass juts a bright rectangle on a pole—part stadium lights, part marquee, part basketball hoop. The result is a disjunction that feels playfully absurd, simultaneously serious and silly. The work’s formal reference to signage flirts with a critique of capitalism before it veers past the political and into the existential. It seems to say, “Sure, commercialism is absurd, but how about death?”

matt_lee-death_landscapes_2-4

Matt Lee. Untitled, from Death Landscapes II, 2015; cut paper; 8.9 cm x 11.4 cm.

matt_lee-death_landscapes_2-11Matt Lee. Untitled, from Death Landscapes II, 2015; cut paper; 8.9 cm x 11.4 cm.

In his Death Landscapes, Lee’s characterization of the incongruities between the unidentifiable and the concrete produces an effect that is pleasantly somnambulistic in its strangeness. The viewer is asked to accept an unknown element as part of the visual lexicon, inviting it to become familiar while remaining mysterious. In one piece, a rocky black outcropping reminds one of a gate to the underworld, but the billboard-like sign above it complicates any sense of solemnity the form may suggest. This juxtaposition does not make the landscape more comprehensible, but it does make it less frightening. The artist’s overall proposition is a consent to the liminal—an uneasy assumption that the unknown is not necessarily an existential threat but rather simply curious.

matt_lee-death_landscapes_3-16Matt Lee. Untitled, from Death Landscapes III, 2016; cut paper; 13.8 x 18.3 cm.

Lee’s most recent series, Death Landscapes III (2016), is a more somber affair. Using collaged plain paper to suggest landscapes, these works lack the graphic juxtaposition of color photographs and black shapes that had given his previous works their liveliness; they instead convey a more tactile exploration. Their physical qualities of light and shadow reveal the landscape forms within a funereal cast of bone white. But while this series loses the playfulness innate to many of Lee’s other pieces, it gains a material presence. Here, Lee’s expression of absence is most tangibly felt—the void an extension of material form rather than a refutation of it. This is the ultimate ethos of Lee’s work: that strangeness is familiar, that the unknown is recognizable, and that the void is undeniably present.

 

Matt Lee is an artist, illustrator, design consultant, and educator. His work has been published by Gestalten, Creative Review, and NY Arts, and has been exhibited across North America, Europe, and Asia, including the Centre Pompidou in Paris, the Mall Galleries in London, and the Alla Prima International Art Fair in Delhi. Originally from the United Kingdom, Lee currently lives in Bangalore, in southern India. He has a passion for Indian matchboxes, surf music, and preppy clothes. He can be found on Instagram (@mattrdlee) and Twitter (@mattlee).

Portrait

Last week photographer Ronan Haughton took my portrait as part of a series on artists in Bangalore. We spent an afternoon drinking very hot coffee at Koshy’s and observed the dinosaurs of Cubbon Park. We then got drenched by the monsoon rains and went home.

Ronan is an Irish freelance photographer based in the UK and India. His work focuses on travel, people and culture. Find out more about Ronan’s work on his blog.

DSC04892-Edit (Hi-Res)

DSC04914-Edit

DSC04903-Edit (Hi-Res)

Copyright: Ronan Haughton

Sandown

‘Sandown’ is a new series that re-appropriates iconography from a collection of Indian matchbox labels and situates them on an isolated beach in the south coast of England. The bringing together of these contrasting visual elements creates a tension between culture and context.

The common thread through the series is the horizon line, which holds together a fragmented narrative where animals and objects, out of place in this setting, are in an awkward and nonsensical dialogue with each other.

100_mattlee-sandown1_v3

100_mattlee-sandown2

100_mattlee-sandown3

100_mattlee-sandown4

100_mattlee-sandown5

100_mattlee-sandown6

100_mattlee-sandown7

100_mattlee-sandown8

100_mattlee-sandown9

100_mattlee-sandown10

Volume Magazine

Screen-shot-2012-05-23-at-3

Volume Magazine is a biannual publication that publishes and promotes Britain’s newest creative talent across the arts, music and fashion. They present a trend-forecasting catalogue of contemporary creativity. This week I am Their Photographer of the Week.

See their blog. www.volumemag.blogspot.co.uk

Presence of Absence on UAL

Last year I completed an MA in Digital Arts at Camberwell College of Arts. Today I found out that my Masters work is the new homepage image for the University of the Arts London website. Considering the quality of student work that comes out of these six London art colleges, this really is a huge honour. 

http://www.arts.ac.uk/

Homepage-university_of_the_arts_london

Presence of Absence on Tasveer Online

My ‘Presence of Absence’ series is now showing on Tasveer Online.

Tasveer Online is a web-based project space and exhibitions platform for photography. The site has been put together by Tasveer, a contemporary photography gallery in India, in order to further promote photography in addition to gallery’s physical exhibition programme.

See the full series and the accompanying artist statement here.

420018_306470452746715_144606098933152_814251_327026484_n