Matt Flint: Emulating the Old Masters

Matt Flint “Into the Valley” mixed media 60″ x 96″

By Veronica Vale, Fine Art Consultant

Wyoming-based artist Matt Flint truly puts the “mixed” in mixed media. Not only does Flint use different types of media to create his stunning wildlife and abstract pieces, but he also borrows from different times and cultures in art history.

For the past several years Matt Flint has been incorporating the Japanese black ink paint, Sumi-e ink, into his work. He applies this ancient East Asian medium to his wildlife work in loose, abstracted strokes, allowing the medium to drip and react naturally. In this way, he embraces the spontaneity of the process and the flow of the medium, beautifully capturing the wild essence of his subjects rather than rendering them precisely. In traditional Japanese ink wash paintings, practitioners of the Sumi-e ink medium strive to similarly capture the essence, or Ch’i, of their subjects rather than capturing a photographic likeness.

Matt Flint “Standing in Snow” mixed media 42″ x 30″

In his latest show, “Small High Valley,” here at Gallery MAR, Matt Flint incorporates mediums from both non-Western and Western traditional painting practices. In addition to traditional Japanese Sumi-e ink, Flint introduces silver leaf and walnut crystal ink media, the latter of which the artist prepares himself. The traditional old-world dye of walnut crystal ink is used to achieve a subtle deep, cool brown that hints at the days of Leonardo da Vinci and other Old Masters’ self-preparation of their own paints.

Matt Flint “Of Knowing” mixed media 60″ x 72″

Meanwhile, Flint’s latest addition of silver leaf is reminiscent of ancient art’s early use of gold leaf and gilding. The medium is prepared by pounding and processing metal with rollers until extremely thin sheets are formed. These thin leaves of metal measure around 1/250,000th of an inch and can be adhered with adhesive onto the surface of the piece, giving the work a radiant luster. While difficult to capture in photos, an in-person experience reveals how the shimmer of the silver leaf work breathes sparkling life into each new work. We hope you’ll come see for yourself the wild, dazzling work of Matt Flint’s “Small High Valley.”

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