Matt Phillips Peter LaBier

this, and then & drawings March 20 - April 21, 2013

Matt Phillips (b. 1979) is a Brooklyn-based abstract painter whose DIY geometries draw upon decorative, digital and modernist abstraction. Phillips received his MFA from Boston University. This is his first solo exhibition in a New York gallery. Phillips is active in Brooklyn’s pop up art scene. He is a founding member of the nonprofit gallery TSA in Bushwick. His works on paper were surveyed at Mount Holyoke Museum in the spring of 2012. He collaborated with painter Andrea Bergart on a mural that covered the gallery walls for SHFAP’s summer 2012 exhibition The Jam.

Phillips combines acrylic and oil to create vibrant, optical, mixed-media abstractions. Despite their geometric structures, his paintings retain a softness and improvised sensibility related to decorative traditions of textiles. For Phillips, “quilts share many familiar ideas with geometric abstraction. But when pinned up on the wall—they move, flop, and sag. “

Phillips’ painting has a whimsical gravity, teetering between stable pattern and tumbling form. Phillips uses the fundamental elements of painting: simple shapes, modulated values and color relationships. He mixes and remixes these components to produce unexpected outcomes that become more than the sum of their ingredients. Color, shape, mark and form engage one another in strangely familiar and human ways: they become tense, humorous, quirky and ultimately meaningful. Phillips’ work simultaneously relates to Alfred Jensen, Marimekko patterns and Gee’s Bend quilts.

Peter LaBier’s (b. 1980) vision spans a range of expressive form: he is musician, dancer, draftsman and painter. LaBier is concerned with the total recording and transmitting of an experience in time.

LaBier’s drawings demonstrate a freedom and virtuosic intensity. His wiry, dense and expressive line recalls that of Giacometti and Van Gogh. LaBier works from direct observation; his hand moves elegantly through his subjects with an animated freedom, giving the impression of a kind of collaborative dance between artist, subject and page. His work echoes the past and emerges as a strikingly contemporary.

LaBier derives his imagery from an odd assortment of isolated still life subjects: a child’s organ, a Tibetan lion figurine, a porcelain glove mold, pineapples, Egyptian heads, Greek sculpture and vases of flowers. He engages the history of still life painting serially in sequences that recall draftsman/animators like Japanese filmmaker Hayao Miyazaki and William Kentridge.

He has exhibited at Plane Space gallery in New York and at Agent Gallery in Chicago. LaBier is the frontman for the electro-pop band Psychobuildings, who have released music through the Brooklyn based label All Hands Electric. He recently directed a music video for the band MNDR’s song, “Feed Me Diamonds.”