Icons of Decades Past; Grace the Canvases of Artist, Matthew R. Paden
Known for his bright tones, assertive brushstrokes, and expressive style in painting, American artist, Mathew R. Paden is gearing up for his new exhibition featuring his series “Famous Faces,” to premiere at Carpe Artem Gallery in Oklahoma City, in the coming month of June.
While all art techniques require focus and precision, Spontaneous Realism is a difficult style to master; you are not painting the world exactly as it is, yet it does not quite meet the requirements of abstract. You need to achieve the perfect balance between reality and abstract, between the world you see with your eyes and the one in your mind. Paden is one of the few artists that masterfully accomplishes this balance in his work. His “Famous Faces” series features this balance, showcasing the icons we know and love into a different light, making them seem familiar yet completely new. With a wide range of celebrity faces we know from the 60s, 70s, and the 80s, including Clint Eastwood, John Lennon, and Audrey Hepburn in iconic poses, "Famous Faces" is a series not to be missed.
The Oklahoma artist has used his style to grace the paintings in a way that is uniquely him, yet also fitting for the subject itself. The portraits all hold the life and personality associated exclusively with them. The paintings distinctly represent the study and research behind the art process; to master each personality’s aura and capture it on the canvas is difficult to see in any, but the most passionate artists.
An example of this research is “Sweet Chemical Angst," a portrait from the painter’s new series which embodies the lead singer of the iconic rock band, Guns N’ Roses, Axl Rose. Paden has not only managed to capture the essence of the artist’s personality, but also the public persona surrounding him. The expressive way that the eyes are painted, the sharp tones of the facial contours, the setting of the jawline, all point towards a detailed study of the subject as a person before trying to transform their reflection onto the canvas. On the other hand, the slightly darker tones of the figure, with splashes of intense colors in the background symbolize the subject’s rock persona.
With Paden's rich tones and confident brushstrokes as his signature, the series of twenty-one portraits is a wholesome treat for the eyes. What strikes with the audience is the capture of expressions and distinctive elements in the portraits. For example, in “Bolivia Bound," Paden manages to capture the brilliance of Paul Newman’s electric blue eyes even in his spontaneous realism format, or how he gives the painting a vintage look in multi-color through the use of fading background techniques.
True to his alias of ‘Savvy Palette; Paden’s paintings speak boldly through a wide range of vibrant colors on the canvas. It is also interesting to note how the Oklahoma artist has linked Spontaneous Realism with modern expressionism in his work, making the audience feel the significant momentum of the painting.
Perhaps one of the most intriguing elements of the series is the wide range of fitting titles for the portraits, which are a play on the words about the iconic subjects, or references to their famous work. “Sweet Chemical Angst” as mentioned above, takes the audience back to the band’s famous song "Sweet Child of Mine," all the while accurately describing the lead singer’s persona.
The titles of paintings are also an important feature of it and symbolize the importance and significance of that piece of art. Most artists fail to recognize this, and often works of art go untitled or with generic names. If you think about it, the most famous works of art in history have names that spark interest and intrigue; "The Mona Lisa," "The Scream," and "Whistler's mother" are just some of the few that tell the story behind the painting. It is refreshing to see an artist utilize the tool of titles and personalize it to their style.
Matthew R. Paden, or the Savvy artist, as he refers to himself, has developed a series worth viewing. Carpe Artem in Oklahoma City, OK recognized this and is featuring Paden's work as one of their premiere artists at the upcoming grand opening exhibition at their newly renovated contemporary art gallery.
A little bit about the artist: Born in the Pacific Northwest in 1977, Matt has been passionate about his art from the beginning. Using a bold palette and dynamic hues, Matt made a name for himself through his work in contemporary art, receiving various accolades throughout the years for the appreciation of his talent, appearing as a guest speaker at events, and leading workshops teaching his dynamic style of art.
He currently resides in Oklahoma with his family, remaining dedicated to his artwork and excited about creating it. Regarding his new series, “Famous Faces," the artist feels enthusiastic, stating that his art is what makes him feel alive, or as in his own words: "Painting allows me to step back in time and explore a dynamic that appeals to my nostalgia... perhaps a bit fantasy."
Matt believes the inspiration of his art to originate from observing the world around him, with its simplicity and chaos blending to form reality as we know it; his philosophy reveals in his work, which is also a blend of simplicity and disorder, where the colors do not follow the rules of society yet join together to form something beautiful. For “Famous Faces," he wanted to bring back a cherished past that is often forgotten in our daily hustle of life.