From Prometheus and Athena to the Garden of Eden to the Big Bang, Matthew Craven’s solo show FOLK::LORE at Hashimoto Contemporary features new works on paper that explore the myriad creation stories explaining humanity’s role in the cosmos. By re-contextualizing cultural symbols that have endured through decorative motifs, the variegated and intricate compositions that make up the works in FOLK::LORE prod us to reconsider our relationship with mythology and, therefore, our position in the world.
Collaging and drawing on the back of old movie posters and other types of found paper, Craven locates images of decorative objects from global cultures in discarded or outdated textbooks to mix into his drawings of intricate patterns. His compositions include ancient sculptures, vessels, florals, and geometric patterns emphasizing how visual symbols are malleable, their meanings temporary and highly contextual. As conduits for the characters and narratives that tell us who we are, the decorative arts find kinship with myth as entities that help us make sense of the world around us.
These new works on paper offer a fresh perspective on life’s fleetingness. Embracing florals and the human form, the artworks in FOLK::LORE offer a moment to contemplate life’s duality and contradictions: “We are only here for a little while, but we can do beautiful things while we are here. Impossibly beautiful things,” Craven states. Though our human lives are finite, our stories outlast us, even if they transform through each telling.
FOLK::LORE opens with a reception on Saturday, September 16th in Los Angeles, 6 pm - 8 pm and is on view through October 7th.