Office Baroque is pleased to present Hotpoints, the first European solo exhibition of 28-year-old American artist Mathew Cerletty. Fifteen new paintings and drawings were created for the exhibition. Mathew Cerletty lives and works in New York and has previously exhibited with Rivington Arms and Team Gallery in New York.
Cerletty first heard the term ‘hotpoints’ in a Brian Eno song and later discovered it to be, among other things, a brand of kitchen appliance, the name used for bonus points accumulated through credit card purchases and a play on the ‘talking points’ of American politics.
From early depictions of people in familiar but overly-stylized environments, Cerletty’s visual vocabulary has since developed into more abstract renderings of gestures, words, brand names and logos. Through careful representation and subversion of commonplace objects and images, usually borrowed from commercial culture, Cerletty’s exacting and lushly rendered work addresses both the artist’s personal history and the most urgent elements of our contemporary spectacle. Several works, including The North Face, Selsun Blue and Kohler (all 2008), are affectionately critical, using the visual seductiveness of branding to achieve emotional resonance. In Thank You (2008), a generic design from a plastic bag used by restaurants and convenience stores, becomes a charged commentary on the complicated relationship between the artist and viewer.
Most recently, Cerletty completed a series of abstract ‘chip’ paintings inspired by ice cream and linoleum tiles. These fields of black shards on saturated monochrome backgrounds embrace painting as a sensual, aesthetic force yet Cerletty, like many of his contemporaries, maintains a sense of restraint. Cool and emotionally mediated, he deftly negotiates the formal concerns and subjectivity of colorfield painting, incorporating elements of pop and conceptual art. Building on diverse artistic legacies, Cerletty’s work marries Italian painter Domenico Gnoli’s (1933–1969) visual extractions with the conceptual photography of Christopher Williams, the textual work of Ed Ruscha and the narrative musings of Matthew Brannon. Its critical stance resonates with the writings of Guy Debord and Jean Beaudrillard among others.
Through this distinct approach, touching on such heady topics as consumerism, desire and art history, Cerletty’s subtle paintings and drawings situate him amidst the legacies of postconceptual and postminimal art. Exploring art’s potential to make not just a critical but a poetic analysis of values in society, Cerletty engages in a playful and urgent investigation of the icons of our time.