Matt Austin / Paintings / Curated by Daphne Ireland Whelahan / May 21 - Sept 3, 2016

For Immediate Release

Matt Austin 

May 21- September 3, 2016 
opening reception:  Saturday, May 21, 2016 5-7pm

Curated by Daphne Ireland Whelahan
Cheymore Gallery is happy to announce a new solo exhibition of paintings by Matt Austin curated by Daphne Ireland Whelahan.  The show opens Saturday, May 21st with a reception for the artist from 5-7p, and will be on view through September 3rd.
Austin's paintings are imbued with a playful yet rapt attention to detail, perspective and light.  A horizon can be found in many of his works, inspired by his love of the vistas from his childhood, spent on the flat plains of the Midwest. He is well known for his use of casein paint and 23 karat gold leaf, whether in murals, paintings, or hand carved objects and sculpture.  The paintings in this show include a series of camouflage dazzle ships* and seascapes, as well as birds and nature inspired by the Chinoiserie murals of the early 18th Century and the European "Japonsime" movement of the late 1870’s.

Born into a family of muralists, illustrators and painters, Austin honed his craft as an artist after spending many years involved in art installation at the Yale Center for British Art.  He has followed his curiosity since 1971 and when not in his studio, he can be found at the Metropolitan Museum of Art or climbing hills on his road racing bicycle.

*Dazzle camouflage, also known as razzle dazzle (USA) or dazzle painting, was a family of ship camouflage used extensively in World War I, and to a lesser extent in World War II and afterwards. Credited to the British marine artist Norman Wilkinson, though with a rejected prior claim by the zoologist John Graham Kerr, it consisted of complex patterns of geometric shapes in contrasting colors, interrupting and intersecting each other.

Unlike other forms of camouflage, the intention of dazzle is not to conceal but to make it difficult to estimate a target's range, speed, and heading. Norman Wilkinson explained in 1919 that he had intended dazzle more to mislead the enemy about a ship's course and so to take up a poor firing position, than actually to cause the enemy to miss his shot when firing. 

Dazzle was adopted by the Admirality in Britain, and then by the United States Navy, with little evaluation. Each ship's dazzle pattern was unique to avoid making classes of ships instantly recognizable to the enemy. The result was that a profusion of dazzle schemes was tried, and the evidence for their success was at best mixed. So many factors were involved that it was impossible to determine which were important, and whether any of the color schemes were effective.

Dazzle attracted the notice of artists such as Picasso, who claimed that Cubists like himself had invented it.  Edward Wadsworth, who supervised the camouflaging of over 2,000 ships during the First World War, painted a series of canvases of dazzle ships after the war, based on his wartime work.   (from Wikipedia)