Installation Views

2014 mon install1 1400 0x0x3000x2000 q852014 mon install2 1400 0x0x3000x2000 q852014 mon install3 1400 0x0x3000x2000 q852014 mon install4 1400 0x0x3000x2000 q852014 mon install5 copy 1400 0x7x3000x1997 q852014 mon install7 1400 0x0x3000x2000 q852014 mon install8 1400 0x0x3000x2000 q852014 mon install9 1400 0x0x3000x2000 q852014 mon install10 1400 0x0x3000x2000 q85
View More ImagesView Less Images


11 mm 14s thecanyon ak10444 1 1400 0x0x3000x2001 q85Ak11458 mon twins 1 1400 0x61x667x445 q85Ak10442 mon brightlament 1400 0x48x2000x1335 q85Ak10173 mon columni 1400 0x39x864x577 q85Ak10347 mon untitled 1400 75x186x812x541 q85Ak10454 mon odessa 1400 0x0x864x577 q85Ak10446 mon stbarricade 1400 0x43x864x577 q85Ak10443 mon thecontender 1400 0x9x864x577 q85Ak10452 mon lastlegisland 1400 0x0x1296x864 q85Ak10441 mon boraandyugo 1400 0x0x864x577 q85Ak10450 mon firstaid 1400 0x56x864x577 q85Ak10453 mon bedsidemanner 1400 0x32x864x577 q85
View More WorksView Less Works

Press Release

May 2 –
June 21, 2014

Los Angeles-based artist Matthew Monahan’s sixth solo show at Anton Kern Gallery presents sixteen sculptures, a set of drawings, two wall-mounted masks, and a single large figure in the back room. Monahan molds his materials, which include aluminum, paper, bronze, plaster, steel, metal leaf, and fibre-reinforced plastic (FRP), in such a way that the viewer can never be sure of its true identity. The artist’s deliberate allusions to proto-scientific, or alchemist handling of materials, the mixing of high and low, goes hand in hand with an overwhelming sense of fragmentation that characterizes the works in this exhibition.


The figures, drawn or sculpted, are made up of fragmented limbs, heads and other body parts. Pieces are seemingly broken off, detached and re-assembled, incomplete, with an odd piece here and a scrap there. A sense of disintegration, collapse, or breakdown prevails, only gently allowing in a sense of re-assembled beauty. A single figure articulates an array of disparate elements; a bronze head supported by a plastic chest, inside of which a photocopied image transforms into a three-dimensional sash that extends around the waist and folds to become its own base. Sometimes, a figure’s skin seems fleshy, and at other times cold like a metallic shield. Steel frames function simultaneously as cages and as supports, with the sculptures weaving in and out.


Monahan’s deliberate use of fragmentation is reminiscent of Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s unfinished (but published as a fragment in 1816) poem "Kubla Khan; or, A Vision in a Dream: A Fragment". Coleridge claimed that inspiration for the poem came to him during an opium-induced dream. As the sight of waves and the ocean, of curtains and drapery, can trigger larger visions of fantastic empires, Monahan’s hallucinatory folds become further extensions of a sculptor’s vocabulary of actions and their resulting geometries; along with the fold comes the crumple, the wrinkle, the shattered piece, the disorderly polygon. Monahan pushes the fold to a breaking point, quite literally, suspending a moment of spontaneous violence in high-tech materials and processes that spark a wealth of associations.


Monahan uses fragmentation as a technique to break up the narrative. It signifies the breaking rather than building up of information, to form a structure that would convey a hidden message rather than the obvious one. The accompanying catalog can be a tool in identifying processes and details of all works, thereby adding a level of critical self-reflection to the exhibition.

Read MoreRead Less