Matthew Dibble‘s paintings live in a cubist world of ancient Greece, his mythical figures floating through a monochromatic landscape, a geometric blueprint of domesticity, a purgatory, their restlessness creating a tension, a desire to move on and tell their story.
There is deep need in these pictures, as if Dibble is determined to arrest our attention and draw us back into the mists of pre-history, to recognise our forefathers, our oral tradition and the need to reconnect with the wisdom of the ancients. His appropriation of a cubist aesthetic suggesting both a modernist and atavistic sensibility, a primal urge that resides within all of us, a childlike fascination with the dark and the monsters who lurk in its shadows.
This duality, the juxtaposition between geometry and myth, creates an energy, a space into which we can transpose our own stories thus becoming part of a collective narrative that stretches across time. Unlike his loose and expressive abstract paintings Dibbles figurative pictures begin on a small piece of paper. For over 20 years he has been drawing with ink. Always, consistently. And when the painting becomes too demanding he returns to the pen. It is out of this exercise of unconscious expression that these beautiful and strange comical pictures are created. This outpouring, this psychological vision, gives his figures a stage on which to act out their neuroses, their desires and needs as they pace the room waiting for an answer that will never come. Here’s what he has to say about his work:
Can it be said I am an artist when painting but other times, no? I see I’ve been led to a question. When am I an artist? An artist question seems more appropriate at this time. The creative process puts me in question. When I begin to work, the first thing I see is how lazy I am, and how weak my attention is. I see I want to fall back on old tricks, things I know that will make a successful painting. But I’m trying to discover something new.
I’m very much interested in this process, not necessarily to make a good picture but to discover something new. How can I bring more feeling to my work? Am I being honest about my experience as a painter? This questioning process leads to bigger questions such as who am I and why am I here?