A discovery, Matt Wilson

Like the travel diaries of English Bruce Chatwin who gave us an incredibly sensitive and humanistic vision of a world now lost forever, photographic wandering Matt Wilson, also a globetrotter Anglo- Saxon sometimes produces some pictures of the different countries he travels without a priori, and the mood and meetings.
Few indeed, but so special, these modest or insignificant photographs in their subject are further presented – against current trends in contemporary photography – in so small that we have to stop for scrutinizing more closely. The image is mostly somewhat damaged because movies sometimes useless as the artist uses. The visual result is a very opalescent with this grain and decadent causing intimate light gray areas in the night scenes and made a smoky and foggy in the daytime landscape. This technique of shooting “random”, which includes the accidental photographic vision founded the language of Matt Wilson. All this eventually disturb us view to gradually, snap us and tip it into a poetic and timeless. As at this writing the whole structure by one frame vaguely visual narrative that leads us into fictional lands on the edge of a waking dream.
The look of Matt Wilson and takes us beyond any particular time. Sometimes you could imagine before a Brueghel landscape or face a romantic description after a page in English literature of the nineteenth, while he also knows we transplanted, almost brutally, in a cut-throat street or mingle with a boxing black children, even though our eyes trying to catch the fleeting vision of an old American car … Many almost unreal situations that are reminiscent of the atmosphere of American films of the sixties.
Obviously, Matt Wilson does not want both reflect the reality of a moment as he dreamed or felt rather than seen or experienced. A kind of photographic infrathin arises where a tiny space-time filled with a sense of timelessness associated with a sublime elusiveness. And yet, it is indeed just a cliché born of an almost trivial encounter with the human and the landscape that surrounds it.
Matt Wilson photographed everywhere in Europe, starting with his native England, but also in France, with which it has its affinities, without omitting the Eastern countries where he still returns frequently between two stays Cuba. More recently, he ended his desire browse new territory: the United States where he lived for ten years. He could be afraid to touch this history, both American photographers are already loaded beautifully. But again, it gives us an amazing vision that reveals by snapshots of landscapes and men burnt by the sun that eventually, anyway, by lying down on
this vast landscape to create ineffable moments that we may be fooling yourself and see it in watercolor.
Then we could call this work “pictorial metaphor” even if the drift purely pictorial characters Matt Wilson were not so rooted in their time and in their daily lives, although sometimes needy. Because somewhere, if Matt Wilson gives us what he sees through a poetic prism, it is also a reporter and reflects our contemporary society by its subjects but often raw deals at tragic nor misery. His watchful eye is rather benevolent view borrowing a tragicomic light behind the full extent of a deeply humanistic thought.

Christine Ollier, Paris, February 2012 


At different times of art history and especially during periods of art mutation, there is always a creator to seize again the fundamental parameters and specific procedures to impose his/her work. This certitude is confirmed by Matt Wilson’s colour prints.

Born British, he could be seen as the successor of the New Color New Works school, the colour being so essential in the immediate seduction of his images. But it is also true that the limited size of his prints, from the photograph tradition, invites us to an intimate reading of his little forms perfectly composed. If Matt Wilson borrows his subjects from the daily life, his pictures are the opposite of the European school of ordinary.

Technical parameters such as depth of field, back lighting, background light without any flash, are used in each photograph for an encounter which could be the beginning of an adventure, a friendship or another human event. Each likely encounter, with a place or with a person, is reinforced by the caption, always going with the peculiar image or series to arouse our imaginary. Photographed by Matt Wilson, every place – road, improbable area or residence – seems charged with personal history.

The series mark the special moments of these encounters, but all the images are produced to be seen individually, without the serial habit. However, they are all part of a same vision.

In the very sensual coloured palate of Wilson, there is a closeness to the subjects Debbie Flemming Caffery knew how to catch with her coal blacks. One can feel a familiarity with Alec Soth’s practice, without the programmatic efficiency of Magnum style, that is to say, with a lightness which exists out of any tactic, with the modesty of a Great.

Christian Gattinoni, Source : www.lacritique.org, November 2009