I first encountered this artist’s creations at an exhibition by nomadic art exhibitors Antlers Gallery.
Matthieu Leger was seeing his pieces in situ for the first time, hanging from the ceiling struts of a stripped down warehouse room that aptly reflected the sense of space and scale in his artwork.
The one shown above, Show Me How You Love, drew me in from across the room, so that I drifted towards it then came to a halt, gazing into its depths as though into a clouded fish tank. At first I felt I was peering down from a balcony at a vast origami butterfly hanging over at atrium, and that the inkblot smudges were people walking far below. But the longer I looked, the more my sense of it shifted, and the more details I noticed, from the sketched paper boats to the fragments of text.
Matthieu says that all of his drawings begin in the same way: “I staple paper from a roll of Fabriano 220gsm onto a large mdf drawing board and mask around the edges of the board using tape. This gives me straight edges to work from and I am able to write little notes to myself on the masking tape. I grab a pencil and slowly shade the whole surface a mid-tone of grey to work from. I find this quite meditative and I can start to think as to where the drawing might lead. I grab a rag (or my hands) and smudge the hell out of it to make it smooth. From there I decide whether or not I will spatially draw a dividing line in the drawing offering in this way a floor space and a wall space, an inkblot shadow might then be added along with concentric circles.”
From there, Matthieu says, he commences his “dialogue with the drawing. Using pencil, erasers, white spirit, rags, paint brushes, blending sticks, my own hands, and sometimes white pencil; Objects are drawn, words, phrases and symbols are added and removed, graphite is added and erased and pushed and pulled. My drawing in this way becomes akin to painting. Some things will be drawn and rendered in detail whilst other things will remain more abstract and ambiguous.”
He adds: “The drawing evolves through this systematic yet organic process. I have a vague idea of what I might want to draw at the very beginning of the piece, and the beginning of each drawing starts similarly, but there is never an absolute idea of what the end result will be.”
Find out more about Matthieu’s art at www.antlersgallery.com.