Matthew Rose is an American artist based in Paris. Matthew Rose
On Photography & Collage
I’m not a photographer. But some years ago I developed some double exposures from a cheap plastic camera – the images I discovered were accidents – the film did not advance as it should have. I’d printed out a contact sheet, and had a half dozen produced large and in color. Prior to that I’d taken a photograph of my niece. She was a baby, sitting on the kitchen floor playing with bowls and spoons. I printed the photo and then cut out her silhouette, which flattened all her features. Some thought the “baby” was a “thalidomide” baby. That silhouette formed the basis of a collage series that spanned nearly 10 years – I used the silhouette as a kind of light to illuminate other images and surfaces; it shaped ideas, and gave a supra-impression of a full range of ideas, extending even to mosaics and sculpture.
As I’ve expanded my range of collage subjects and techniques, the photograph has become a support in many interesting ways. For one I’ve come to regard most magazine images I use – as well as photocopies – as photographs. I find myself intrigued with the magazine and vintage book papers these images are printed on. All printed material, particularly pre-1960, offer rich image possibilities due to the printing technology used. I cut and alter these images, sometimes using paint, sometimes sandpaper, sometimes water. I will sometimes turn them to undecipherable bits; other times using fragments in combination with others – scratching their color away. I’m interested in all sorts of photographed and printed images, and can sometimes hunt for bits of red or blue or yellow for a specific work, combining it so the results are often abstract. Usually the pieces, particularly in the more recent Suicide Specials launch a distilled but many-faceted narrative.
Other works, however, are extremely direct and employ only a handful of elements. I seek out photographs of objects or people that have, with their vintage printing and papers, a faraway, often nostalgic feel. I’ve come to view photography as something – anything actually – that has been reproduced mechanically using optics and printing technology. And I’ve no issues with reprinting images using my own store of vintage papers – some virgin some already printed.
Prints for the Immaculate Perception (the girl in the lemon tree) work are still available via Keep Calm Gallery in London, UK. Click here to see them: Immaculate Perception Keep Calm.
Matthew Rose / Paris, France