Matthew Choberka: Translation Between Languages


This body of work, “Position Papers”, engages the instability and complexity of the contemporary world, by way of a serial approach to the image that hybridizes the languages of drawing and painting. The images are autonomous, whole on their own terms, and yet function together in a de-centered dialogue, maybe even an argument, in which structures fight for stability within fields of color and light, forms emerge and wane, in a search for a language to embody the world. My address to the issues of power, conflict, and uncertainty are, and must be, allusive and metaphoric, as well as discursive.

Untitled HH

Incorporating ink, graphite, colored pencil, and acrylic paint on paper, and predicated on an interplay between abstraction and representation, the pictures are as dependent upon the sense of touch as on the faculty of sight. The abrasive movement of the pen, the rhythmic buildup a pencil marks, and the sweep of the brush condition the realization of the image. In this sense I feel my way through the pictures. Found within these movements are echoes of war, and though the pictures are far from overtly political, they have become filled with my unease with the world that I face, and that my children will inherit. Fundamentally, the content of my work has become an attempt to find a place for myself in the world. Emotions like apprehension and anger, tempered with a kind of hopefulness have informed recent works. I work to confront both my identification with humanity, and my (sometime) dissatisfaction with it.

Equally interesting to me in these works are the ways in which they assert both affirmation and negation. The images seem to follow a progression, but they do not comprise a narrative. Forms gesture and move, but they are not figures. Spaces can be navigated and lived in, but they correspond to no known place. What emerges finally is not representation, but presentation, pictures of that which could not be seen in any other way.

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Signal Fire

About-Matthew Choberka 

Chair and Associate Professor of Art

MFA 2005 in Painting, Hope School of Fine Arts, Indiana University

Matt’s paintings and mixed-media works engage the instability and complexity of the contemporary world, by way of a serial approach to the image that hybridizes the languages of drawing and painting. His work has been exhibited nationally and internationally, with recent exhibitions at the Torrance Art Museum in California, galleryELL in Brooklyn, Governor’s Island Art Fair in New York Harbor, Raid Projects in Los Angeles, and Beaux-Arts des Ameriques in Montreal, Canada. His work is currently represented by galleryELL and by Beaux-Arts des Ameriques. Matthew lives with his wife Angela, daughter Olivia, and son Luca in Ogden, UT.

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