“Inner Demon Delectatio": Matthew Hansel @ The Hole
The Hole is proud to present our second solo exhibition by Brooklyn-based painter, Matthew Hansel. In our Tribeca gallery Hansel exhibits fourteen new oil paintings depicting his most exotic menagerie yet.
For “Inner Demon Delectatio” Hansel mines his inner world of depravity and weirdness. Creating a grotesquerie along the lines of Hieronymous Bosch but scaled up to disrupt the cuteness of these monsters, Hansel depicts nudists, demons, cocktail parties, orgies, sea creatures, corpses and cheese—lots of cheese! In fact the rear room of the gallery is a bit of a cheese cave where the soft geometric forms pile like chiseled landscapes and have all manner of little demons crawling over them.
The works attract and repel in equal measure as they blend amazing oil painting skill with the irrational mind. Letting himself be seduced by his demons, Hansel creates artworks that allow us to safely contemplate things that normally scare or disgust us, like death and monsters, while also considering what is contemporary about these vintage uglies. In his own words:
"Recently I had this experience when reexamining the work of Hieronymus Bosch. I had previously categorized Bosch as one of the artists I left behind after removing posters of his work from the walls of my childhood bedroom. It wasn’t until the unprecedented events of 2020 altered our world to such a degree that I saw his work anew. It suddenly seemed as though his bifurcated worlds of heaven and hell felt more like possibilities then illustrations. Bosch’s work seemed to be a perfect metaphor for this moment and made me ask: why when confronted with one of his diptychs in which the work is evenly split between the bountiful delights of heaven and chaotic misfortunes of hell, my eye continually wandered back to the netherworld, constantly searching out the next act of cheeky depravity? Why was I finding delight in the grotesque creatures who were meant to fill me with the anxiety of eternal damnation? The miniature worlds conveyed a morbid splendor and frankly, the demons seemed to be having a lot more fun."
As fans of beautiful oil painting we are immediately enraptured by the gorgeous colors and careful shadows, delicate blending and photographic accuracy. If we so choose, we can enjoy abandoning the coldness of classical beauty to indulge guilt-free in the allure of the repulsive.