Matthew Brannon Exhibition at David Kordansky
For us, Brannon's work makes a crucial contribution to an understanding of the role of printmaking in contemporary art. He often eschews the typical editioning of work in favor of one-off pieces that employ print as a method of image-making. We are excited to see his work move from the very slick letterpressed pieces that were typical of his early series, to a more involved process of combining screenprinting and hand-painting. The surface of these massive pieces become even more gratifying as you move in close and inspect how exactly Brannon has constructed the image.
The show, "Concerning Vietnam" unpacks a troubling period of American history through an investigation of the documents that both instigated certain actions or reflected on the time through contemporary print journalism. That Brannon uses print process to explore the Vietnam War, pulls it back from being associated with televised war and instead reflecting on the maelstrom of print media and printed documents it generated - both confidential and otherwise.
Previous shows of Brannon's have utilized exhibition spaces with discreet, adjoining galleries where we could control the order in which pieces were viewed and create a kind of theatre in his presentation. The Kordansky space doesn't allow for such a specific sequencing of the work but Brannon instead generates an effective spatial differentiation through a large, dividing wall and using exuberant blocks of wall color.
The timing of the show is both compelling and thought-provoking, as we currently endure a political climate in the United States that one can only assume history will not reflect kindly upon.