Viewing the work of Matthew Brannon is like watching a foreign film with no subtitles–you can understand and appreciate the imagery to the extent that you might even form your own idea of what the storyline might be, but there will always be a disconnect between your imagination and the true intention of the film, as told through its dialog. Similarly, Matthew Brannon’s letterpress prints offer charming and straightforward imagery via a highly accessible medium, but they tease your understanding with lines of text that do not expressly correspond with the image, as I learned upon first viewing Brannon’s work in the 2008 Whitney Biennial. While the intention of the artist might not be to confound, that may sometimes be the result; but in most cases the pieces invite the eager viewer into a cheeky game of wordplay.
Currently, Brannon’s new work is on display in a show entitled Nevertheless at The Approach in London, marking the New York-based artist’s first solo show in the city. Nevertheless marks a departure from the print-dominated exhibitions of his past, showing sculpture installation alongside only four letterpress pieces. The show explores “both the idea and the image of a transatlantic sea voyage. The outdated–once preferred–way to travel to London, now but a literary backdrop or an obnoxious tourist getaway,” according to The Approach, and runs through November 1st.
Matthew Brannon was born in 1971 and lives and works in New York. Recent solo exhibitions include: The Question is a Compliment, Friedrich Petzel Gallery, New York (2008); Grandmothers, Galleria Gió Marconi, Milan (2008); Where Were We, Whitney Museum of Art at Altria, New York (2007); Meat Eating Plants, David Kordansky Gallery, Los Angeles (2005).