Matthew Craven’s Archaeological Collages

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Artist Matthew Craven primarily works in collage.  His work, however, diverges from a lot of typical collage styles.  Craven doesn’t juxtapose found imagery to create an effect from the contrast.  Rather, he sources imagery of what seems to be ancient archaeological artifacts.  The black and white images resemble the photographs of old issues of National Geographic.  Further, the way Craven assembles the images doesn’t seem an attempt to draw disparities.  Instead, he almost appears to categorizing objects, setting up classifications without labeling.  Still, his work is fine art and not an exercise in archaeology.  Craven doesn’t offer easy conclusions – there is no simple reading of history to be gotten in his work.  Rather, Craven looks back at history with his collaged images as art does.  It underscores the difficulty in reducing human history to one accurate narrative.  The gallery statement of his current solo exhibit at DCKT Contemporary further explains:

“Archaeological remains and ruins act as backdrops for forming crypto-historical collages and drawings. Images from lost cultures, relics and landscapes both well-known and extremely ambiguous create the patterns within the works. The results are compositions that highlight a new connection to our past in an aesthetic that is intended to be both cinematic in scope and visionary in perspective.  Understanding that our view of history is deeply flawed and inherently biased, we are left with a puzzle of strange pieces. Oblivious Path combines these puzzle pieces into a new framework. Some of these pieces appear to fit together despite thousands of years and tens of thousands miles separating these ancient civilizations. Using source materials from historical texts, Oblivious Path scrambles our current notions of space and time. The powerful images we are left with cannot be reinterpreted, translated or disregarded. What is left was carved in stone. It is permanent. They are our sacred truths.”  ( via the jealous curator)

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