Randi Matushevitz: Exploring the transience of 21st century life through esoteric imagery
Katie McGarigle , June 2016
There is an ardent complexity that characterizes the work of Matushevitz. Dark and ambiguous figures are reminiscent of unspoken dreams, while the viewer takes a deep dive into the realm of the subconscious desires that permeate contemporary society. The physical and repetitive layers of her pieces echo the emotional complexity of her ideas. There is a unique juxtaposition between the softness of the pastel and the aggressiveness of the charcoal. Matushevitz explains that her choice of medium is synonymous with her “love of the human touch”, which provides a contrast to her criticism of humanity. “Our carnal needs are the same”, explains Matushevitz, yet “we have less time and less money”.
This idea is further explored in her piece Under the Full Moon. “Everyone is spinning within their own world,” says Matushevitz. A figure in the corner of the piece dances while listening to music, immersed in a world of its own and seemingly oblivious to the chaos surrounding it. Meanwhile, a mysterious creature spreads its wings under a full moon. When analyzing the symbolism of this work, it is important to note that full moons are reflective of ancient and synchronized methods of keeping time, further emphasizing the contrast between carnal and contemporary desires. Looking closely, one can see the word “love” repeatedly hidden amongst the chaos. Matushevitz stated that some words she writes are unable to be seen, hidden beneath the layers of medium. These hidden messages suggest words that have gone unspoken or forgotten, lost within a world that is too distracted to remember them.
The contrast between the seen and the unseen, and the physical with the emotional, can be compared to William Kentridge, an artist also fascinated with the layering of medium and its metaphorical relationship to the human condition. While Kentridge is focused more on the political, Matushevitz is concerned more with the societal and the emotional. This is reflective of how people are constantly “coming out of one space and going into another, continuously moving to and fro in life” as Matushevitz says. This idea reminds us not to become accustomed to the repetitive nature of everyday life, while her work urges us to reflect on what it means to really live.
In her work The Bridge, the viewer looks into an off-kilter landscape, drawing you in and holding you, as if falling within a portal into her world. “What affects the individual also affects the larger society,” she says. In essence, her world becomes our world, because in this context they are simultaneously the same. As a society we operate together but apart, each within our own space provided with the same transient distractions, and operating based on the same carnal needs. Each action of the individual has an effect on the whole. Between her hidden words, dream-like imagery, and juxtaposition between medium and meaning, one is invited to reflect upon 21st century life and its effects on our subconscious through immersing ourselves in a world that is both hers and our own.