Like the Spice gallery presents "Cross-Reference," a collaborative of Nashville-based painter Hans Schmitt-Matzen and Brooklyn-based photographer Gieves Anderson.
It’s fitting that Hans and Gieves begin the works in their latest series in libraries, which the two artists consider sanctuaries of thought. Duly titled Cross-Reference, the series enables a philosophical contemplation of color and composition through an alchemy of the disparate mediums of photography and painting.
Libraries’ unbroken rows and columns of books were the artists’ inspiration for the new works, and Gieves’ large photographic prints of the buildings’ interiors and exteriors form the multicolored surfaces to which Hans applies oils in thick gestural strokes made with brushes, blades, and customized squeegees.
Gieves’ images of overlooked corners and alcoves within the book-lined halls of their subjects – including the main branch of the New York Public Library – and Hans’ dense yet dynamic strokes of paint could both very well exist alone, but the artists’ creative roles disappear into the individual pieces. Gieves’ printed colors become Hans’ palate, and the photographer’s complex geometrics form a palpable grid from which Hans expounds upon in painterly language. His lines of paint are abstract annotation of the photograph’s architectural forms while at the same time portals to their frameworks of color field and contemplative structure.
The symbiosis of Hans’ and Gieves’ artistic relationship likewise enables them to create works that neither of their respective mediums could comprise alone. This synergy is due to their paradoxical ability to seamlessly combine the rawness of abstract painting with the unforgiving organization of architectural imagery. Hans’ paint literally extends the plane of the photographic image into an actual presence of form. The addition imbues the works with a tactility that a photographic print could never achieve and dissolving the image versus object debate surrounding photography. It goes without saying that these works do not come in editions.
Hans and Gieves are both graduates of Middle Tennessee State University where they met and began their art collaboration. Since 2001, their artwork has been featured in numerous national juried exhibitions, museum shows, and art events independent of the gallery system. Notable jurors of their work include Jennifer Blessing, Curator at the Guggenheim Museum, NY; Maria Christina Villasenor, Associate Curator at the Guggenheim Museum, NY; Adam McCoy, Curator of Contemporary Art at Cheekwood Museum of Art, Nashville, TN; and Jochen Wierich, Curator of American Art at Cheekwood Museum of Art, Nashville, TN.