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Matthew Couper

Born in: 1976

United States

Translation in progress

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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Matthew Couper, The Chief Mourner and the last drops, Print

Matthew Couper

The Chief Mourner and the last drops, 2017
29.9 x 22.4 inch


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