Curated Artist Registry

The White Columns Curated Artist Registry is an online catalog of digital images documenting the work of artists who are not affiliated with a commercial gallery in New York City. Each submission is reviewed by our curatorial staff; in order to be considered for the registry, one must submit work digitally via this website.

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Matthew Cooper Hansel
Brooklyn NY US
Updated: 2017-01-19 02:19:15


“A clown’s nose is the smallest mask.” - Antoine “Toon” Hermans 

Every artist is at times a brash innovator, gifted scholar, cowardly thief and spineless huckster. My inner voice often vacillates between “I’m an artist who is destined to be remembered” and “I’m an imposter with nothing new or important to say”. These opposing voices would, at first blush, seem contradictory. However, they work in tandem, balancing one another - thesis and antithesis - constantly trying to prove each other wrong. 

My paintings depict the solitary struggle I face as an artist. A struggle born of an irrational belief in a singular vision: my own. It’s a narrow path, equal parts earnest and laughable, beset on both sides by the perils of over thinking it. Fall I have and fall I will. The falls are public, out in the open, in the work. And just like the rodeo clown who gets knocked down, it is the artist’s job to get back up while still entertaining the crowd. Hiding the uncertainty behind the face paint and foam nose. 

My paintings portray the reoccurring archetype of the struggling artist preoccupied with their enterprise. They foolishly follow their desire to produce, despite their tragic circumstances. The paintings employ multiple modes of representation: history painting, comics, crafts, trompe l’oeil, cartoons, a mix of highbrow and lowbrow. Each object is specific in the form it takes and yet indicates the uncertainty that exists when anything is possible. This uneasy balance generates a conceptual conceit, namely—humans want to be remembered—so we make things—and making things that will be remembered is a vital and absurd pursuit. 

Like the subjects of my paintings, I am sanctified by uncertainty. I continue undaunted in my foolhardy vocation. It is my intention to create objects that will live on after I am gone. I want to leave something behind. So, I comically follow faith toward an implausible ending: walking the wire, not looking down, holding my paintbrush, wearing a clown nose. 


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