san-francisco

Mathew Hale, Page 71 of MIRIAM’S BODY (detail), 2013, mixed media, 61 x 41 x 7". From the series “MIRIAM,” 2001–.

Mathew Hale

Ratio 3

Mathew Hale, Page 71 of MIRIAM’S BODY (detail), 2013, mixed media, 61 x 41 x 7". From the series “MIRIAM,” 2001–.

In 1974, while Brian Eno was producing the album Taking Tiger Mountain (By Strategy), he and artist Peter Schmidt devised “Oblique Strategies,” a set of aphorisms printed on a deck of cards and intended as a resource to guide one’s working methods under the mandates of “productivity.” Anyone who has ever felt creatively blocked will appreciate these prompts, which cultivate the intrinsic unpredictability of intuition and chance—“Honour thy error as a hidden intention,” “Ask your body,” and my personal favorite, “Do the washing up.” In “MA THE WHALE,” British artist Mathew Hale (mounting his first solo show at Ratio 3) embraced such unruliness and its capacity to challenge rational, received forms of knowledge. Like Eno’s dreamy, proto-punk pop, Hale’s work brims with uncanny juxtapositions, Freudian slips, and double entendres. (The exhibition’s title is itself an anagram of

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