Matthew Couper paintings
Matthew Couper was born in Hastings, New Zealand in 1976. He graduated with a BFA from the Quay School for the Arts, Whanganui, New Zealand in 1998. He now lives and works between Las Vegas, USA and Whanganui, New Zealand.
Over the past decade, Couper has developed his practice via the appropriation of western Art History’s most pertinent eras such as the Trecento, Quattrocento and now Baroque painting. Through these painterly investigations, he discovered that history oft repeats and helped him determine that the Modernist notions of originality held little interest for his practice. He stated recently in ‘The Gravy’ – a documentary on New Zealand artists, that he uses these anachronistic practices as a way to feel ‘OK with the past and … OK with being part of a tradition’, which he believes to be important. “…I’m not so much interested in carving out a niche for my work, I’m interested in adding to a tradition…” And in this case, it’s the retablo and ex-voto traditions of Mexico, influenced by Spanish Colonial painting of the Baroque period.
He uses the established traditions of painting to discuss (using symbols and imagery), the space between myth, religion and art politics. He recently stated that ‘like any good Johnny Cash, Nick Cave or Pixies song, you’ve got to have sex, death and religion fuelling the fire’. More recently, having left New Zealand to settle in the USA, Couper’s painting has started delving into the political, economic and social statuses of his new environment and how it affects the likes of artists and creative people in the community.
Couper has traveled extensively throughout Europe and the USA and was awarded a Royal Over-Seas League International Scholarship to travel and paint in the United Kingdom in 2003. He returned to the UK in 2004 to exhibit at the Jerwood Gallery, London and to continue his travels in Italy and France. In 2007, he held his first public gallery solo exhibition with published monograph,The Museum Of Inherent Vice at the Sarjeant Gallery, Whanganui, New Zealand, after receiving a nine-month residency at the Tylee Cottage Artist in Residence programme.
He exhibits at La Luz de Jesus in Los Angeles, Philomena Gabriel Contemporary in Houston; CMTV Galería, Barcelona, Spain and SmallWorks Gallery in Brisbane, Australia amongst regular exhibitions in New Zealand at Mark Hutchins Gallery, Wellington; PAULNACHE; Gisborne, PaperWorks; Napier and Rayner Brothers Gallery in Whanganui. He also regularly exhibits in group exhibitions in public galleries throughout New Zealand and the USA. Selected artworks are represented in public collections throughout New Zealand (Sarjeant Gallery, Whanganui, The Real Art Roadshow Touring Collection, the Celia Dunlop Foundation collection and James Wallace Collection, Auckland) and internationally (Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Rome and Brisbane;Corey-Helford collection, Los Angeles, Klai Collection, Las Vegas) and in private collections in New Zealand, Australia, USA, Scotland, Britain, Spain, Italy, Germany, Switzerland and Hong Kong.
Artist Website: http://www.mattcouper.com
‘The Gravy’ artist interview: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IKR5PVBbrnQ
M A T T H E W C O U P E R : A R T I S T
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