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A shifting, slippery video billboard, a distorted, busy street scene, a figurative study engaging a language of magic realism, or a quiet, beguiling, modern interior all hint that things may not be as they seem. Matthew Carver is a painter who often questions in the studio if something pleasing and beautiful can shift, nudge, and hint at something darker and possibly foreboding. Here, he composes the paintings as puzzles to decode over indeterminate lengths of time. How can something seductive and pleasing, be allowed over time to slip and hint at a darkness, lurking, below the polished surfaces? He states that his artwork aims to engage with what Slavoj Žižek has described as “an awareness that we live in an insulated artificial universe”[1], at a place and time where perhaps something is “out of joint”.

Matthew received his Masters with ‘Distinction’ from The Chelsea College of Art at the University of the Arts, London, is a winner of The RBC Painting Prize and has considerable international experience with solo shows in Berlin, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur and Canada. He has participated in many prestigious international group exhibitions from London, to Berlin, Dubai and throughout Asia, with the most recent being 'Multi Layered Surfaces' at the Prince Takamado Gallery within The Embassy of Canada in Tokyo, Japan. In late 2010 and early 2011, he had works displayed in the 12th Cairo Biennale. Here, his large paintings of riot police and an anamorphic painting were presented in the front section of the Palace of the Arts, a bridge away from Tahrir Square, where the Egyptian Revolution exploded less than a month after the opening. Some of these very same paintings were prominently displayed five years later at the Art Museum of Nanjing University of the Arts exhibition, 'In/Out Source – Nei Xiao/Wei bao'. Other exhibitions include 'Anticipation', curated by Kay Saatchi, Flora Fairbairn and Catriona Warren (the editor of ArtReview magazine for 20 years) and Museum Presents: The New Empire (curated by Victoria Lu of the Shanghai MoCA) at Scope Basel.

His work is in many notable international collections and he is represented in Canada by the Christopher Cutts Gallery who will exhibit his paintings at this year’s Art Miami.

Over the years, Matthew painted in places such as Berlin, London and parts of Asia, but currently works out of a studio in his home in Toronto, Canada. His studio assistant and cat, ‘Eleven’, keeps him company in there and occasionally makes her way into some of those seductive but slightly off-putting scenes. She also takes over his Instagram account at times.

[1] Žižek, Slavoj, Welcome To The Desert of the Real, p. 41

“ … a bolt that secures the scaffolding that in turn holds fast the entire architecture of reality, of time: memory-chambers and oblivion-cellars, walls between eras, hallways that sweep us on towards the end-days and the coming whatever-it-is. We see things shroudedly, as through a veil, an over-pixellated screen. When the shapeless plasma takes on form and resolution, like a fish approaching us through murky waters or an image looming into view from noxious liquid in a darkroom, when it begins to coalesce into a figure that’s discernible, if ciphered, we can say: This is it, stirring, looming, even if it isn’t really, if it’s all just ink-blots.”

– Tom McCarthy, Satin lsland