Review: Matthew Mullins, The Sun in Our Bones

Shane Tolbert, THE Magazine, October 30, 2018

What does it mean to make landscape paintings in 2018? Just this morning I was reading the recently issued UN Climate Change Report about coming food shortages, growing wildfires, and other ecological disasters. After digesting this and thinking about our nation’s withdrawal from the Paris Agreement, again I ask, what does it mean to be making landscape paintings now? In his first solo show with form & concept, Matthew Mullins talks nature. His focus is not on our impending self-created doom but on society’s disconnect from the natural world, which, in truth, brings us to where we are today. With so many different bodies of work in the exhibition, it’s a stretch to hold this theme as an umbrella for the entire show. There’s a blending of Euclidean geometry and pastoral mountain settings that succeeds in some paintings but not in all. Canopy, one of Mullins’s paintings that works, consists of a rendered aspen cluster, embedded starburst pinstriping, and a pair of wavy, interlocking patterns that simultaneously create a world inside the canopy and offer a view on to the horizon. The implied order and structure of the paintings work through the use of pinstripe patterning, but it can also flatten out a painting when the patterns are not integrated Call it a cage or a prison, the pattern overlay ends up as a container for the landscapes. READ MORE.