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Matt Johnson, Untitled (Amazon Box), 2016, carved wood and paint, 23 × 23 × 17".

Matt Johnson

303 Gallery

Matt Johnson, Untitled (Amazon Box), 2016, carved wood and paint, 23 × 23 × 17".

Matt Johnson operates in broadly the same arena as his onetime tutor Charles Ray, producing highly polished work that makes the everyday strange. For his second solo exhibition at this gallery, the New York–born, Los Angeles–based artist presented an array of painted carved-wood sculptures distinguished by a truly extraordinary degree of physical verisimilitude. Reaching rather strenuously for higher meaning, the press release describes without apparent self-consciousness the ways in which “these simple moments of dispossession become the generators of their own poiesis,” but somehow glosses over the work’s most striking feature—its seeming transformation of one material into many others. That the objects Johnson chooses to render—crumpled cardboard boxes, half-used rolls of painter’s tape, scuffed sheets of drywall—are so ordinary, and so redolent of studio life,

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