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|Mathew Sawyer, It Will All Come Out in the Wash, 1999, framed document, series of eight notes (3 women and 5 men’s pockets)|
Mathew Sawyer creates objects, actions and events that oscillate between the public and private, the troublingly personal and the unsettlingly familiar. Using the platform of a solo presentation the installation will incorporate unseen work from the 90‘s alongside brand new work to contextualise the artists ongoing, acutely personal practice.
In an evolving series, which the artist describes as ‘documentary works’, Sawyer chronicles nominal actions through text and photographs. In 'Between you, me, and the post', 2013 the artist commemorates the fact that he is to be a first time father by anonymously sending a package to the owner of a house that Sawyer believes is the furthest from his own. Inside the package is a clay effigy of a ball figure and a note explaining his feelings of anxiety and love. Also included in the installation are a series of works from 1999, It'll All Come Out in the Wash, in which Sawyer scrawled fragments of song lyrics - often emotionally charged - by groups such as the Velvet Underground, Neil Young and David Bowie onto scraps of paper, which he then secretively placed into the pockets of strangers. As with the recent documentary work it is as if the artist hopes messages such as “I will be King” and "Only love can break your heart" connects him to, or holds meaning for the innocent collaborator.
Drawing, painting and sculpture are an important part of Sawyer’s practice, often chronicling an imaginary recurring figure, this cartoonlike character - who recently appeared on someone’s doorstep in New Zealand - transmogrifies from jocular to irksome, augmenting the sometimes-melancholic drive in the work. He appears in sculptures that incorporate vapid once cared for porcelain figurines that find themselves bear-hugged by a nebulous clay figure, or their features subsumed by an alternative physiognomy.
For numerous years Sawyer’s musical collective Mathew Sawyer and the Ghosts has expanded the artist’s lyricism; his most recent album has been described as a rare blend of humility, honesty and humour*. Through this broad practice Sawyer imparts a sense of solitude, in which he insinuates both a distance between himself and the viewer and a desire to be a part of the world. Alongside which an intimacy with the viewer is manifest through the shared familiarity of existential anxiety. He dares to give voice and form to such angst.
Mathew Sawyer’s recent solo exhibitions include ROKEBY, 2011 and Swallow Street, 2009 curated by Sarah McCrory, both London. Other solo exhibitions include Galleria Sonia Rosso, Italy, 2008 and 2005 and Jack Hanley Gallery, USA, 2005. In 2010 he was included in the Serpentine’s Map Marathon and in 2000 was included in Protest and Survive at The Whitechapel; he has shown at White Columns, New York, The Prague Biennial, The Approach, Lisson, The Royal Festival Hall, London and Kunstmuseum Luzern.
Sawyer graduated from The Royal College of Art in 2002. He lives and works in London.
* Lauren Down, The Line of Best Fit