MATHEW MCWILLIAMS

Observatory

05/08 – 04/09/2016

With a site-specific intervention Mathew McWilliams has transformed the church of Santo Stefano into an observatory, a place oriented towards the unlimited space that opens from the Mediterranean horizon (immediately behind the building), but also towards its own history, legacy and iconography of the Roman era.

When immersed in the exhibition, the windows allow a continuous exchange from the inside to the outside of the church; McWilliams has created a visual relationship through structure, in perfect scale to the person. A series of large, transparent, light blue canvases stand perpendicular to this axis of the church. Four slits, each the same size of the old portal and place in a staggered progression, multiply the prospective viewpoint, altering perceptions and capturing the colour and illuminating the outside atmosphere.

The contact surface between the spaces (window and glass door today) thus becomes the display surface, contaminating the colours of the sea and sky, almost cancelling each physical limit of the enclosed space out. To enhance this, McWilliams completely covers the floor using gold isothermal blankets and their reflective surface.

This intervention, essential and minimal, raises questions in the observer of their perceptions, organising a new spatiality deeply tied to the colours (blue and gold) and iconographic perspective needs of Catholic votive painting. It is an action that makes this special "observatory" a beacon pointing to humanitarian emergencies in the Mediterranean, alluding with isothermal blankets the dramatic dispersion of bodies lost in the deep.

McWilliams' installation opens itself towards a typical contemporary intelligence that creates semantic bridges and visual connections in a dialogue of rare sensitivity between art and life, between the space of the sacred and the time of history.

About the artist:
Mathew McWilliams born in Vancouver, Canada (1973). Lives and works between Canada and France. Selected Exhibitions; 2016 Chalk Horse Gallery, Sydney; 2015 Macaulay & Co Fine Art, Vancouver; 2014 Inks, Thorpe's Studio, Toronto; Reliefs, Chalk Horse Gallery, Sydney; 2013 Possible impressions, Rivodutri, Italy; 2012 Onto Itself, Chalk Horse Gallery, Sydney; 2011 As It Is, Pharmacy, Montasola Rome; 2010 Additions & Subtractions, Fenestra Gallery, Sydney; Recent Work, Artroom5, Adelaide; 2005 Black Ground, Galleria Bertanicinque, Rome.

Observatory, 2016, installation view in Exchiesetta
Observatory, 2016 tulle, emergency blankets, variable dimension
Observatory, 2016, detail
Observatory, 2016 tulle, emergency blankets, variable dimension
Mathew McWilliams