In anticipation of his upcoming solo, 'Blue & Gold', we asked Matthew Kentmann a few questions regarding his practice, inspirations and what we can expect to see in the show.
PIERMARQ*: Your paintings are very technically skillful – When did you get into painting and where did you study?
MATTHEW KENTMANN: Thank you.
The first painting I had a record of was a Sidney Nolan study I painted from the Ned Kelly series in kindergarten and my grandmother framed. For some time I lived with my parents and my grandparents and my grandmother would say she always new which clothes were mine because they had paint on them.
I studied at The College of Fine Arts, University of New South Wales.
P*: What exhibitions or artists have left a strong impression on you and your development as an artist?
MK: I was fortunate to cross paths with Philip Wolfhagen as a student at Sydney Grammar School when he was artist in residence. He had an open studio during lunch times. Philip exhibited my paintings with his show at SGS, documented my work and we have kept in touch.
P*: What are the core concerns of your practice?
MK: Communicating something visually I can’t articulate through other means.
P: In your view, what is it about the bird that has made it such a historically popular subject matter for many artists?
MK: Wonder, curiosity and joy. I live in an area that backs onto national park and see incredible birds such as King Parrots and Eastern Rosellas regularly.
P*: From a painting perspective, what has capturing birds in mid-flight taught you?
MK: Birds have taught me how to paint movement and in turn see and then paint again. The more 'painterly' a picture is the greater the sense of movement. The absence of pictorial device or scaffolding allows me to connect directly with the subject. This resonates with my own experience of the landscape as something dynamic to be moved through.
P*: Can you please talk us through the conceptual focus of your work for the upcoming exhibition at PIERMARQ*, and what we can expect from the show?
MK: Blue & Gold refers to Blue and Gold Macaws. Sitting in traffic on Queen Street a pair of large cobalt blue wings ascended in front of my windscreen. In the moment before hitting the accelerator I looked up and saw three large macaws in the canopy.
I am interested in a saturated optical and sensory moment sustaining a body of work.