1 block with 2 bricks and 2 bricks cantilevered on 1 bar, 2019. Image courtesy of Blum and Poe and the artist.

Matt Johnson @ Blum & Poe

November 18, 2019

Matt Johnson provides the Los Angeles fine art world a dashing sense of confidence in an artistic expression at Blum & Poe which is unavoidably a meditation on equilibrium. His impressive achievement in sculpture is with a playfulness of man-made material to convey, unobtrusively, a sense of balance which may be considered one of the highest ends of mankind, and thus a worthy reflection of its pretensions.


There is a conflation of equilibrium and balance, but it is important to demarcate the concepts to best elucidate the harmony humanity has with Nature – and which Mr. Johnson distinctly ameliorates. With balance, we may discern a more abstract principle – of the efforts of configuration to a preconceived design, if not geometry. Equilibrium, however, connotes a more restless effort; it is a constant process contra a principle. And with this further discernment, we can perceive a richer idea of biological homeostasis being expressed by the fine artist.


No doubt this concept is categorically beaming within each of the sculptures. Yet it requires inspection to enable us a higher appreciation of the scheme of the materials used in humanity’s metabolic processes. It may be perplexing to look at cinder blocks and safety cones as intrinsically organic – and further, the promotion of human adaptation. Yet, when we can encapsulate humanity naturalistically, we have revealed to us this interpretation of the efforts to stabilize human motion via material fabrications, away from chaos and towards higher order or harmony. And, astonishingly, we are further permitted to treat a self-reflection of art as equally naturalistic in Mr. Johnson’s 11 brick reclining figure with 1 bar and a Matisse book (2019). The spirit, it can then be further considered, also contributes to such equilibration with the blind forces of fate of the natural world.


And this is the key merit of this collection. It is a celebration of man’s evolutionary nature to overcome perpetual resistances which constantly disorder. To witness this as a higher aim of Nature – that indeed the goal of the cosmos is towards ever higher expressions of harmonized motion – is an incandescent reminder on the goodness of the human spirit, as intrinsically the highest extension of cosmic activity with its own action upon the world designed to cause more harmony, which we subjectively perceive as more goodness. The struggle is always in maintaining this focus, and yet this is the reason art exists.


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