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Matthew Burrows: Everything, At Any Moment
January 4, 2010 - February 5, 2010
When I draw my spirit rises. Even if I’m feeling down, drawing makes me feel better. This cause and effect never changes. This, first and foremost, is the reason I immerse myself in drawing. Drawing is not for anyone else but me. It’s meditative, and that feeling and process has become necessary to my peace of mind on a daily basis. Once I have begun the process of drawing, the drawing itself can then become about other things. At first glance, my work may seem chaotic, but it is essentially an image representing how forms unravel as I’m thinking about everything. My mind becomes a constant semi-organized continuous flow of feelings, beliefs, theories, facts, and visuals. I’m drawing what I think as I think about it. All those stimuli revolving through my head 24/7 will probably only ever make full sense to me if I can let them pass through my eyes and into form as drawing. I never complete a piece all at once, so each drawing can tract a lot of different thoughts. Although drawing is really for me and about me, I like to think there is something in it for everyone.
We all inhabit a world of information and media content that has become the new landscape—the new environment—in which we “exist.” In many ways and to an increasing number of people, it is more ‘real’ than the actual physical world. I am by no means opposed to technological change, but I am opposed to one of its side effects: saturation. We are so overwhelmed with digital information. There’s more about less. It makes us in a way, numb to the aesthetic and sensory pleasures that have always been part of the natural environment around us. When I draw, it is essentially my method of dealing with the overload. I didn’t intentionally develop this relationship to drawing. I became aware of it when I realized that if I drew for a few hours, when I stopped I felt the need to spend more time appreciating what other people seemed to appreciate less and less: the natural, beautiful, physical, concrete world. I’m never drawn to the TV or my computer after I draw. It is as if drawing helps me make sense of the sensory overload.
My approach is directly related to the way I see the world. I tend to see events in comparison to our larger contextual situation as humans. By this I mean the simple fact that we are nature, we are animals. We may be advanced beings, but—here on a ball in the middle of an incomprehensible space of nothing—we don’t really understand much of life’s fundamental truths. Clearly, many people block out their sense of the sensory world on a daily basis. I think the “tension” that some people describe in my work may be the tensions we look past in everyday life. As the world becomes smaller, as every city, village, state, and country, becomes more diverse, more combinations of cultural values are coming into direct contact with each other. When I think about the forces of, war, racism, law, love, hate, happiness, sadness, indifference, work, poverty, college, stress, pressure and desire— “our normal situation”—and compare them to our larger context, something triggers a creative impulse in my mind. I believe these cultural collisions to be a good thing in the sense that they may bring about greater tolerance. If I’m honest, I also hope these encounters will create more space for common sense and a greater opportunity for us to regain a love and appreciation for the ‘real’, the sensory.