* All images used with permission. Please do not distribute without first contacting the artist.
Matt Hansel lives and works in Brooklyn, NY. He earned a BFA from The Cooper Union School of Art and an MFA from the Yale University School of Art.
Matt describes his work by saying, “My paintings literally and figuratively deconstruct the practice of painting. Layering images from 17th century vanitas painting with warped cartoons and trompe l’oeil figurines, my work plays with visual absurdity and challenges prominent hierarchies. The paintings employ multiple modes of representation: history painting, comics, crafts, trompe l’oeil, cartoons, a mix of highbrow and lowbrow. Each object is specific in the form it takes and yet indicates the uncertainty that exists when anything is possible. The use of trompe l’oeil devices in my work suggest an unspoken truth about artists. Namely, that we are liers. We depict things (forms, space, light, etc.) that don’t exist. We ask the viewer to believe or at least to bear witness. I often include small porcelain figures sitting on the bottom edge of the canvas facing the painting. They are stand-ins for the viewer, always watching, always present, a witness to my deception.”
In addition to traditional vanitas iconography, Matt's paintings contain 19th century cartoon imagery, porcelain tchotchkes and digitally rendered forms.
The faux folded corners seen in some of Matt's work are a nod to vanitas still life paintings of the 17th century that were made to look dilapidated and falling from the stretcher.
Matt often includes small porcelain figures sitting on the bottom edge of the canvas facing the painting. He says they act as stand-ins for the viewer, watching, always present, and a witness to his deception.