(Arguably) New Work

Bob Matheny: (Arguably) New Work
Sushi Performance and Visual Art
April 1 – June 3, 2011

Curatorial Statement

For more than five decades Bob Matheny has been known as an influential artist and teacher working in San Diego. In that time he has created a wide-ranging body of work that is propositional in nature; viewers encounter comical, if somewhat puzzling artworks designed to advance ideas for their consideration. Sushi Performance and Visual Art has the opportunity to exhibit a series of photographs recently created by Matheny which feature as its subject matter the artist’s own sculpture, this time recast in seemingly conventional still life portraits. 

Bob Matheny's work defies easy categorization. He works across conventional media – painting, sculpture, photography, video and performance. He often creates work for highly unconventional settings – the air, the state of Utah, a single viewer. And he typically avoids signing his work, often attributing it to various personae or simply signing it “anonymous.” 

In Arguably New Work Matheny challenges the permanence of meaning in an artwork by using his own sculpture and painting, which he has been creating since 1963, as raw material for still life photographs. In so doing, Matheny not only proposes that an artwork’s meaning changes over time, but he offers the public a glimpse of a highly productive octogenarian who prefers to make art without producing more objects. 

-Brian Goeltzenleuchter, Curator

Artist’s Biography
Bob Matheny (b. 1929, Santa Ana, CA) earned his bachelors and masters degrees from Long Beach State College (now Cal State Long Beach). In 1961 he joined the faculty at Southwestern College as the first full-time instructor in the Art Department. At Southwestern he founded the art gallery, protested against the war in Vietnam, and battled administration about issues of censorship and academic freedom. All the while, Bob Matheny maintained an active art practice. His work spans all media, and included many forms which challenge a conventional art viewing context.