May 10 – June 9
Opening reception Saturday May 10, 6-9pm
Matt Town, “SOAP (speed)”, 2014, hand-developed silver gelatin print, 11 x 14 inches
Microscope Gallery is very pleased to present SOAP, the first solo exhibition of works by Bushwick-based artist Matt Town. SOAP features as its centerpiece a 16mm celluloid film and sculptural installation of the same name involving the building and test drive of a soapbox derby car through the streets of Town’s neighborhood in a performance the artist carefully prepared and staged with a crew filming from roof tops and following along on skateboards.
In this installation as well as in four medium-format silver gelatin photographs, hand-developed by the artist and taken during the preparation and performance ride, Town suggests the artistic process of creation as well as the barriers to such pursuits, especially in a city in which the escalating cost of living makes it increasingly difficult to do so. Images of Town navigating his simple white boxcar dressed in a white full-body racing suit and bubble helmet recall a bar of soap “cleaning” the streets in the rapidly gentrifying neighborhood.
“In the film I document the fabrication of the car and view it as a shell or vessel for a body as well as ideologies. The car stands as a housing for a body, an abstraction of my body, and then its documented, racing through a space, the neighborhood where I live.” –MT
Town’s works acknowledge the tensions created not only by the real estate developers moving into the area but by his own presence in a close-knit Hispanic immigrant community and places the conversation in the broader context of class and race in the present day US, a theme recurring in other recent and highly personal works by the artist who arrived in New York City last year from Florida. Additional components of the installation include the actual soapbox car and a special projection booth designed by Town to silence the noise of the rotating film reels. Dirt and scratches on both the film and photographs have been embraced to contrast with the smooth textures of the sculptured elements.
MATT TOWN was born in Sarasota Florida in 1989 and currently lives and works in Brooklyn, NY. Town’s works have been featured at Microscope previously this year in the group exhibit “No Show” and solo screening event “Race Films: Images, Bodies, and Ideologies in Motion”. Town’s work has also exhibited at Salomon Arts Gallery, NY and The Harn Museum of Art, The Display Gallery, and Grinter Gallery in Gainesville, FL among others. Town graduated in 2013 summa cum laude from the University of Florida with a BA in Interdisciplinary Studies (Film & Media Studies).
The exhibition is participating in Bushwick Open Studios 2014
Still from SOAP (Matt Town, 16mm film installation, 2014, 11 minutes loop)
© 2014 – All images are courtesy of Matt Town