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Matthew McCormick: A master of Cowboys, Landscapes and Composition

Updated: Apr 20, 2020

Lately one of my favorite Instagram feeds to take a long scroll through has been that of painter Matthew McCormick. Really three visual themes that, just so often, collide to make one rather stimulating sight. Magic. I'm gonna spend some time with each visual element, but here's a taste of what I'm talking about in case you don't want to read. You really must see this!

If you were able to divert your eyes from "Cause The Lord Found Me A Place" for just a moment and scroll down, let's break this down.

Firstly, the landscapes. I am not positive of the technique used to place this the landscape in the work shown above. Painted or not, it is more than the technique for me. Rather it is McCormick's ability to choose just the right landscape. Just the right view to include. The angle, the elements shown, set a mood. I am sure that the process of choosing the right landscape is a thoughtful one. We know this from third of IG post the artist devotes to his studies. On their own interesting studies. Slightly dull in detail. Usually the edges are undefined. Loosely "finished". But a perfect snapshot. A fuzzy memory, more set in feeling than detail.

Aside from the landscapes, and arguably more important, the Cowboys. And boy are there a lot of cowboys. Cowboys on bulls. Cowboys leaning on walls smoking. Cowboys wearing hats. Cowboys standing, sitting, living. Quick charcoal figure studies. Charcoal line drawings, with heavy shading. It never seems to be about the specific man. Rather the posture of the man. The body language. The caricature of masculinity.

Finally the quotes. You don't have to search the feed to hard to swipe across a poetic quote. Often short to the point, cryptic. Some recognizable from song lyrics. Some the origin is unknown. When pulled out of the song or out of the air and written plainly on a page, a simple quote gains new weight. Void of context, it is easy to get hung up on every letter. Arriving at your own take aways.

Combine the two and your left with this:

Combine all three and something great happens.

The landscape becomes the anchor of a piece. Setting the tone. A type of ambient emotion flooding the stage for the other elements to perform. The cowboy is the action. a moment in time to reflect on. The words; the reflection. It is electric. Reminiscent of year book signatures around a persons picture. The quotes becomes a way to remember. The way McCormick is able to exit what feels like the work, only to extend the work. Layer, layer, layer viewer. Matthew McCormicks paintings are like being handed a used book in which the previous reader has left their mark. An open conversation your are welcome. Same as you the artist is reading the book. Organic, emotional response. It is authentic.

WOW just Wow. Learn from this.

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