Mathew Porter Four False Starts at M+B

M+B is pleased to announce Four False Starts, Matthew Porter’s fourth solo exhibition with the gallery.

Opening reception on Saturday, January 23 from 6 to 8 pm.


Installed in the gallery are sixteen framed photographs—four sets of four pictures. Each of the sets is composed of work from a different series: a continued exploration of multiple exposure still lifes, black and white still lifes made in Porter’s father’s sculpture studio in Maine, a model wearing a dazzle camouflage suit that Porter commissioned, and pictures made at the fabrication facility Polich Tallix in upstate New York. Together, they form a mosaic of inquiry and interest, overlapping at times, and bonded by their pictorial similarities.


The exhibition takes its title from an artist profile written by Janet Malcolm, Forty-one False Starts. Each of the “starts” serves as an introduction, rebooting every few paragraphs, yet the stuttered essay coheres into a full portrait of an otherwise elusive subject. The piece has no ending, so the question is how to begin—a redundant, tidal process that washes new ideas over old ones.


Bauhaus faculty and students had a playful tendency to photograph one another wearing their respective designs. I’m particularly interested in Erich Consemüller’s pictures of a woman seated in a Breuer chair. It’s unknown exactly who the model was—she wears a mask designed for a theatre production, and her clothes are products of the school’s textile workshops. A mask, a dress, and a chair—all items that the school had given a modern facelift to, or to quote Buckminster Fuller’s Bronx cheer for the Bauhaus, had merely modernized “the superficies of end products…” That kind of design, he was arguing, was all surface, a purely aesthetic upgrade that left core concepts unchanged.


The Polich Tallix facility is the size of an airplane hangar, airy and bright inside, but as soon as I set up in one of the fabrication bays, I’m in someone’s way. Haste is inimical to large-format photography, but it’s only a few hours before they close for the weekend, so I’mworking quickly. Against the back wall, metal is being heated in buckets over blue flames. People tend to the fire wearing silver suits, their faces hidden behind black visors. Silver people on the shoreline, let us be… I find a surface I like and start gathering metal bits to make a still life—copper rods, drill bits, scrap metal, all of it used by the shop in the fabrication of large sculptural works. This is why I came, to photograph the workspaces and to make pictures about the persistence of objects in art making.

Start Date

January 23, 2016

End Date

March 12, 2016


10:00 AM - 06:00 PM


M+B, 612 N. Almont Drive Los Angeles, CA 90069, USA

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