Matthew Couper

Born in 1976 - United States


biography under completion

Born in New Zealand, Matthew Couper has always felt the need to travel, discover and analyze societies. He took advantages of artistic residencies in the United Kingdom, Mexico and of several trips to Europe as well to broaden his culture and taste for painting.

Since 2010, he has been living in Las Vegas, the city of sin and all excesses, but also of American capitalism at its height. So he lives there with many spiritual and societal stimulations that are reflected in his work, in which he expresses his social and political viewpoints, "from a recent immigrant’s outsider perspective". His influences are numerous, from eclectic civilizations and cultures, ranging from the symbols of the ancient western art (italian trecento and quattrocento in particular) to the contemporary images.

Attracted by Spanish colonial art, he sees it as the cultural reflections of a society through the acts of devotion, the apparitions of saints and other monsters. Collector of ex-votos and retablos, whose artists' humility he appreciates, he has painted himself a brilliant and successful series of ex-votos that speak of art, politics, religion or myths. Matthew Couper has appropriated this traditional iconography of the Spanish baroque, composed of "a lot of darkness balanced with red", to illustrate his contemporary paintings whose subjects, which are often very personal, are inspired by his dreams, his Frustrations, books he has read or his encounters.

While the iconography of this art is subjected to the themes of the counter-reform of the Catholic Church, he uses it to stand out social phenomena but also lamentations on "false contemporary problems", a hard drive which crashes, a stomach ache during a journey, a nightmare composed of popular extraterrestrial figures of the 80s. He talks about flooding yourself with exposure, a way to face his fears by representation.
These simple subjects are mingled with anachronistic and esoteric symbols, giving his painting a dense and rich reading.

"Darkly funny, and dense with symbols, Couper’s paintings are his attempt to bridge the gap between the mundane and the spiritual." (John Seed)

His works are represented in public collections throughout New Zealand and internationally (Rome , Brisbane, Montreal and Las Vegas) and in private collections in New Zealand, Australia, USA, Scotland, Britain, Spain, France, Italy, Switzerland, Hong Kong, Thailand and The Philippines.

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- Zoocryptage, Musée/Crypte Sainte-Eugénie, Biarritz, FR
- Tilting The Basin: Contemporary art of Nevada, Las Vegas, US
- Laluzapalooza, La Luz de Jesus Gallery, Los Angeles, US
- Art Karlsruhe, Galerie Gimpel et Muller, Karlsruhe, DE

- In Memory Of Water, ROOM artspace, New York, US
- Vignette - 30 Years at Tylee Cottage 1986-2016, Sarjeant Gallery,
Whanganui, NZ
- Skull Biennial 2016, The Studio, Sahara West Library, Las Vegas, US
- Tilting The Basin: Contemporary Art in Nevada, Nevada Museum of
Art, Reno, US
- Salon of Desert Martyrs, Zoya Tommy ,Houston, Texas, US
- IMAGETEXTE4, Topographie De L'art, Paris, FR

- Nosferatu and the Spider Woman(with JK Russ), PAULNACHE, NZ
- Sydney Contemporary, PAULNACHE, Sydney, AU
- Mostly Clay (group), Rayner Brothers Gallery, NZ
- Havelock North High School Arts Festival Art
Exhibition (group), Hastings Community Arts Center Gallery, NZ
- Contemporary Art Center's 26th Annual Juried Show, Alios Gallery,
Las Vegas, US
- 29th Laluzapalooza, La Luz de Jesus Gallery, Los Angeles, US
- Au Pair, Galerie Gimpel et Muller, Paris, FR

- EAST: Local Colour, Hastings City Art Gallery, Hawkes Bay, NZ
- A Beautiful Life (group exhibition) PAULNACHE, Gisborne, NZ
- Monkey See (group exhibition), Tabla Rasa, Brooklyn, NY, US
- 'Scape (group exhibition), Te Koputu a te Whanga a Toi -
Whakatane Library and Exhibition Centre, Whakatane, NZ
- Life Is Beautiful, Western Hotel, Downtown Las Vegas, US
- Texas Contemporary Art Fair, with Zoya Tommy Contemporary,
George R. Brown Convention Center, Houston, TX, US
- Lying In Space, (group), 30Upstairs, Wellington, NZ
- MAS ATTACK (group) Torrance Art Museum
- Melbourne Art Fair/PAULNACHE, Melbourne, AU
- 2014 London Biennale Pollination in Las Vegas, Las Vegas, NV, US
- HORROR VACUI!, Winchester Cultural Center Gallery, Las Vegas, US
Gallery, Brisbane, AU
- AES+F: Last Riot and other contemporary works from the collection
of Dr Dick Quan, Bathurst Regional Art Gallery, Bathurst, NSW, AU
- Frameless (group exhibition) Development Gallery, Auckland, NZ
- Public/Private: Images of Devotion from 19th and Early 20th
Century Mexico, Barrick Museum, University of Nevada Las Vegas
- Tools of the Trade, PAULNACHE, Gisborne, NZ
- 28th Laluzapalooza, La Luz de Jesus Gallery, Los Angeles, US
- Limbo of the Journeyman, PAULNACHE, Gisborne, NZ

- Sampler. Las Vegas. Contemporary Arts Center, Las Vegas, NV, US
- Thirty-Three. Tauranga Art Gallery, Tauranga, NZ
- Recent Devotional Paintings, College Art Gallery, Riverside, CA, US
- Santa Muerte Arts Festival, Sacred Machine, Tuscon, AZ
- Build the | das Bild (group exhibition), Studio Baustelle, Berlin, DE
- Parallel Lines, PAULNACHE, Gisborne NZ
- The Artist As Peasant, Auckland Art Fair/ PAULNACHE, NZ
- Thirty-Three, Aigantighe Art Gallery, Timaru, NZ
- Valley Of Dry Bones, OXS Gallery, Suite A, Carson City, NV, US
- Disco Inferno group exhibition, Momas'n Dadas, Las Vegas, NV, US
- 3rd Annual Beyond The Sacred Invitational, Sacred Machine,
Tucson, AZ, US
- Make Do & Mend, Whangarei Art Museum, Whangarei, NZ
- Troll Im Dachgeschoss (with Matt Arbuckle and Tyrone Layne),
Bucker Project Space, Muckernbucker, Berlin, DE
- Thirty-Three, Wairarapa Museum of Art & History, Masterton, NZ
- Laluzapalooza Year XXVII, La Luz de Jesus Gallery, Los Angeles, US
- Art Fair Philippines, (Light and Space Contemporary), The Link,
Parkway Drive, Ayala Center
- Thirty-Three, (touring exhibition), Tairawhiti Museum, Gisborne, NZ

- Thirty-Three, Eastern Southland Gallery, Gore, NZ
- The Valley Of The Dry Bones, Mark Hutchins Gallery, Wellington,NZ
- Primal Streams: Manuel Cordero, Matthew Couper & Jerry Vigil,
O'Sullivan Art Gallery, Regis University, Denver, CO, US
- EAST 2012, Hastings City Art Gallery, Hawke's Bay, NZ
- The Whaling and Nashing of Teeth, PAULNACHE, Gisborne, NZ
- Firmamentation: New works by JK Russ & Matthew Couper,
SmallWorks Gallery, Brisbane, AU

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