Matthew Kolodziej: Lost On a Straight Line

Exhibition Dates

September 29, 2015 - October 24, 2015


Thursday, October 1 from 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
  • Matthew Kolodziej: Lost On a Straight Line
  • Matthew Kolodziej: Lost On a Straight Line
  • Matthew Kolodziej: Lost On a Straight Line
  • Matthew Kolodziej: Lost On a Straight Line
  • Matthew Kolodziej: Lost On a Straight Line
  • Matthew Kolodziej: Lost On a Straight Line

The Painting Center is pleased to announce Matthew Kolodziej’s solo exhibition, Lost On A Straight Line, in its Project Room. Kolodziej uses references to architecture to project a sense of dislocation, change, and compression of information. Forming and deteriorating synapses are present in the fragments, fissures, and residues on the surfaces of the paintings. Using computer generated collages based on sites he visits; Kolodziej traces the forms onto canvas and then pours, scrapes, and layers the surface. The reconstructed images of the site present a space that alternates between a tenuous and fragile image and a believable illusion of stability. The painting space is a stage for forming a sense of place.

Matthew Kolodziej is a recipient of the Pollock-Krasner Foundation award and a Fulbright Scholar. This exhibition was made possible with a grant from the Ohio Arts Council (OAC). Matthew Kolodziej’s work has been featured in over 70 exhibitions including The Cleveland Museum of Art, Akron Art Museum, Rhode Island School of Design Museum of Art, and Rose Art Museum. For further information please contact The Painting Center or email the artist at For additional images visit

View Catalog: Matthew Kolodziej_Catalog.pdf

What might Wilhelm Worringer have made of Matthew Kolodziej? The great German art theorist who is credited with coining the term “Expressionism,” posited a polarity between the arts of abstraction and empathy (the title of his influential doctoral dissertation published in 1908) that is formed from contrasting attitudes toward nature. Peoples nurtured by a generous, abundant environment, Worringer argued, expressed this sympathetic relationship in art characterized by naturalism whereas peoples in alienating surroundings – mountainous or desert habitats, for instance – tended toward the schematic and the crystalline. Their iconophobic imaginations took them into invented or invisible realms.

Kolodziej’s fissured, fragmented, splintered vision might seem to epitomize abstraction in this polarity. His scenes of chaos and overload bring to mind words by Worringer’s British disciple, Herbert Read, describing the “restless abstraction” of post-war Taschisme in terms of “emotive distortions of natural forms which seek to express the unease and terror which man may feel in the presence of a nature fundamentally hostile and inhuman." 

And yet, there is method in the maelstrom of Kolodziej’s focally complex, texturally contrastive, chromatically disruptive scenes of entropic disarray. These are more than decorative generations of disorder or play lists of dissolution. Tempting though it might be to view them as randomly selected, freeze frames from an animé of apocalypse, Kolodziej is the author of images that transcend deconstructive décor.

In post-industrial Ohio the postmodern Kolodziej, student of economics and archaeology, has devised a modus operandi almost calculated to upend Worringer’s duality, plausible though the latter remains as a calculus for millennial and continental distinctions of style.  Kolodziej has evolved a complex mode of drawing as preparation for painting that reflects his needs and our times. Computer generated collages made from information gathered by the artist at specific locales – demolition sites for instance – provide the armature upon which to load the petites sensations of the studio, the “hundred visions and revisions,” to quote T.S. Eliot--the fragments, to misquote Eliot this time, shored for his ruin.

Joe Fyfe has described how Kolodziej’s “delicate, squiggly, linear retracings and pours at once build and dissolve pictorial structure.” There is no question that Kolodziej is in possession of a hybrid artistic sensibility, torn between order and entropy. His systems and aspirations entail complexities of preordained misregistration seemingly calculated at every turn to violate stasis, and yet in image after image whirling spirals of disintegrating matter and disruptive foci of mark generation somehow, despite their worst intentions, cohere into a satisfying gestalt.

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