Artist Statement - BITTER CHILL Series
2016’s presidential election was a poignant event that inspired me to consider a change in direction for my painting. I was very disappointed by the outcome, and over the following winter I found myself drawn outside by our region’s storms of snow and ice. I took walks out in some of the season’s late blizzards to wild areas of woods and water, and felt very touched by the stark landscape and the bitter chill.
Following those adventures, our family took a trip to Washington, D.C. in the early spring where I was struck by the words inscribed on the revered memorials and monuments. They spoke to some of the most moving ideas and messages of our country’s history, and I couldn’t help but feel how they shamed those of the new administration.
I felt moved to delve deeper into these voices of our nation’s character, and to join them with landscape paintings depicting some of the scenes I remembered from the winter of 2017. In this resulting series, I evoke the words of Americans like John Adams, Abraham Lincoln, Harriet Tubman, Red Cloud, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Thomas Paine and Frances Harper.
I imagine the viewer’s experience of the series to begin quietly, as they first notice the winter scenes. But hopefully they will be moved to reflect upon the quotes in conjunction with the emptiness and chill of the paintings. The words of these leaders, philosophers and activists point the way in the storm.
Matt Brackett (born in Berkeley, CA, 1975) has investigated animals, family and friends, and an ancestral home, in his semi-autobiographical work. Springing from personal experiences, he employs objects both animate and inanimate, to suggest a narrative that is at times elusive, at times humorous and at other times dark. Brackett’s themes touch upon memory, loss, illness, hope and the embrace of family. His imagery, while realist in nature, is derived from completely artificial constructs.
Brackett earned a B.A. in painting from Yale University and is the recipient of numerous awards including residencies at Yaddo, Saratoga Springs, NY and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, Amherst, as well as grants from the Pollock-Krasner Foundation and the Ludwig Vogelstein Foundation. His solo exhibition “New Waters” appears at Danforth Art/Museum and School, Framingham, MA through May 18, 2014. Brackett has been represented by Alpha Gallery since 2006. He lives and works in Boston.