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My paintings aspire to be about the way body and spirit are (or aren't) connected; and about the relationship between people, as well as between me and the people I'm painting.

I'm more of a relationship/situation painter than a story or narrative painter, but if one wants to make up stories to go with my paintings they're welcome.

Although I feel strongly connected to my subject matter and have always felt the importance of it, still, it's the way something is painted more than what is painted that counts, that matters, that makes it art. Cezanne's apples and Morandi's bottles-though important to them as subjects, as sources -- are not as important as the way they have been painted. As for there being any subject at all: when Clement Greenberg said to de Kooning, "It's impossible today to paint a face," de Kooning replied, "Yes, and it's impossible not to." That's always been so for me. Somewhere there is a Rouault painting entitled, Who Does Not Paint Himself a Face?

-- Paul Matthews

All images: Copyright 1998 Paul Matthews
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