The journey from figuration to abstraction in Matthew Hindley’s recent practice has its roots in the walls of his studio. The painted walls began as mere backdrops for the figures in his portraits, to bring into balance the constructed reality of the models in the studio with the actuality of studio happenings. The remnants of the brush marks on the studio wall become a catalyst for a new direction, and the once accidental, incidental lines and colors on the periphery become the focus of the compositions.In The Evanescence II the large scope of varied applications creates an energetic and radiant composition which extends beyond the borders of the canvas. Arrangements seem expansive and immersive, engaging the viewer fully, while still providing freedom of movement beyond the work’s edges.The extension of the work onto the wooden frame expands the field of painting towards a sculptural space.Open space created through denser areas of white geometric forms within the work stand in contrast to the chaos of the energetic mark making. This open space introduced in the most recent abstracts interrogates ideas of the white square in both its conceptual and formal qualities.While the human figure is noticeably absent, gestural lines and forms still suggest a human presence. This feeling is echoed in the electronic paintings, which see the reengagement of the viewer through a live camera feed which is replicated onto the surface when standing before them.The decision to create large-scale abstract works, together with the tension created between greys and vividly pigmented colours, strives to extend this idea. Broader areas of thinly-applied paint are consolidated by smaller, energetic lines and forms.These refined nuances can be traced back to crosshatching, in a migration from the etching plate (originally utilised by Hindley in his Ruin Lust series produced at the David Krut print workshop in 2016) to the studio walls, until finally becoming realized in the paintings. “Driven by the process of dry point etching, which evolved into paintings, I was looking at the aesthetic potential of destruction, the transmogrification of pain into painting”.The concluding works become timeless in their production and resulting experience, always creating new associations between colour, mark making, layering and composition.
Everard Read, Cape Town