at Talley Dunn Gallery until September 1st
by Todd Camplin

Think about the movie "Beautiful Mind," where the main character John Nash has filled his office with
seemingly connected information, or artist Mark Lombardi mapping a kind of conspiracy in visual form.
Now take this global mapping compulsion and focus in on the conversation level and you might start
to see Matthew Sontheimer's unique perspective.
Are these works collage, drawings, or remnants of scripts for short plays? My guess is that these works
are undefinable conceptual creations that are more about ‘becoming’ than being something.
A sense of story is laid out with connective lines, breaks, and images; but the mass amount of text
in works like “Three Season Porches,” and “Points of Order” leave you a bit baffled. You get lost in
trying to read all the words, which have a similar effect to his old work in which he actually
obfuscated his words. I have often found when presented with visual art using a massive amount
of words, the text starts to abstract and you start to see shapes and the composition becomes
more clear. Only when you focus in on the works, maybe take a note pad of your own and take
notes while reading, can the conversation start to take shape. “Points of Order” could almost
be an internal dialogue as he is describing his process while you read along. He listed the paper
he is using and the font he has chosen, like a Postmodern novelist, he seems hyper aware
and self-referential while he is writing.
Visually, I see a toned down David Carson, Ray Gun Magazine styling to text and image, mixed
with concrete poetry, and sketch book aesthetics. His content makes me believe he is mostly
influenced by the sketch book, because the words seem so personal in his thought process. I
know when I was getting my Masters at UNT while Sontheimer was there, some of the professors
pushed the idea of recording your thoughts or journaling your ideas. As an undergraduate in
Graphic Design, I was also required to keep a journal. I have looked over a great deal of fellow
students’ journals and students’ journals in my classes. And Sontheimer clearly has the look of
the sketch book down, but his dialog is like journaling into a kind of stream of consciousness.
Shooting Games, 2012 (detail) Diptych, mixed media on paper | Right panel depicted, 22 x 26 inches
Points of Order, 2012, Mixed media on paper | 9 1/4 x 9 7/8 inches
Talley Dunn Gallery presents ‘In Conversation’ through September 1st. Though in the
project gallery space, Matthew Sontheimer’s work has a huge presence which lends
itself to spark conversations outside the picture plane.
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