THE WEATHER MAN
Matthew Tumbers’ hand rendering reveals a tight concentration that explodes with an intuitive approach to image making. The result is a powerful and influential alternative to conceptual art and popularised relational aesthetics.
Tumbers said in 2001 “it is difficult to make serious art in a period like this . . . if you are burdened with a goofy nature.”
For Tumbers though, the burden of his goofy nature is always tempered by an innate belief in the gestural, the intuitive and subconscious narratives that swim in his world. Where another may use mixes of known nouns, these abstract tools are his weapons of choice for expression. This sensitivity obliterates any ironic subtleties and creates a connectivity that was less apparent in his more detached tone conglomerates of the late nineties.
The profundity of the works lies in their genuine contemplation of the natural world wearing the goggles of the first child gazing in wonder at the fruits of the universe by the sea. One of the paintings included in this exhibition ‘National Parks for Caves’, exemplifies these concerns; A field of eggshell & grey brushstrokes references art historical archives of the abstract and successfully generates a depth of field via classical architectural construction to form a central yellow glow hole that envelops the viewer. Here, the primary subject of most Western painting—the human figure—is long gone, but spiritually close at hand. The sense of space generated in Tumbers’ mystic landscapes is like a transcendental meditation turning your brain inside out to find caves of experience and nature within.
In this exhibition Tumbers delivers a more minimalist approach compared to some of his previous exhibitions, guiding us into more ambiguous waters. With this comes time to reflect and swim with the tide of his intoxicating yet measured strokes. The rhythm of his riddle gives us more questions than answers about our identity in the ecosystem not only of nature but also in art. These paintings are in the same instance overworked and yet totally submerged in the act of painting.
As a kind of anomaly himself, Tumbers holds a sceptre to guide us through aesthetic philosophy buoyed through his compelling trance-like approach that is a wave, a nod, a thumbs up to the painterly.
– Timothy Vernon Moore, 2011