Matt Savitsky


The idea for the video works came after a visit home in 2018 where I made plein air paintings in the rural landscape much in the way I’d been trained to by my high school art teacher.

I had not painted outdoors since I moved from Lancaster in 2000 where I had been classically trained. The hard formalism I practiced at the time to record my surroundings developed into a painting style -flat, stage-like, sentimental geometries- that reappears shadow-like in whatever I make currently in other mediums.

By returning to paint much in the way I had, I wanted to relive an old ritual while examining the subject matter around which my way of seeing originally formed. To do this fully, it was important for me to momentarily suspend the freedom I felt in my current identity in order to re-experience and analyze the conditions of suppression, isolation, and conservatism that nevertheless created tensions inside me, and, by extension, in my style.

Making these paintings got me no closer to understanding more about these conditions or the resulting tensions. However, the act of painting outside, unwittingly at times on private property, allowed for contact with families I grew up around and never knew. This led me away from questions of origins of style and helped me understand that painting plein air, in this case, was a performative mode that opened me to interaction with a local public I have felt conflicted about.

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