Addressing myths in American culture and alluding to art history, Matt Offenbacher’s work is thought-provoking as well as stunningly beautiful. The subject of history is often an overlaying tone of his work, whether he is working in hyperrealist painting, alluding to Dutch still lifes, or giving his painting of a bat the title of Looking at “One (Number 31, 1950)” by Jackson Pollock.
Matthew Offenbacher, statement for Beaver Paintings – May 21, 2005
This series could easily be mistaken for a kind of natural history, but really it is about people. I am interested in the way people construct and understand their aesthetic environment, especially when it comes to paintings. Beavers, like people, put incredible effort into making their surroundings safer, more comfortable, efficient and stimulating. Much of this effort is directed by one thing – the organizing motif of beaver society – control over the flow of water. An analogous control of flow is at the heart of painting: the flow of energy in and out of spaces, of capital in and out of marketplaces, of ideas in and out of forms, and, ultimately, of time inalterably running forward. The ability to slow, reverse, and transcend time is one of the most tenacious claims made by the culture of painting. This essential optimism, despite all evidence to the contrary, is what these paintings are about. This exhibition is dedicated to Anne Rapp Offenbacher (1912 – 2004)
“It would be hard to miss Matthew Offenbacher’s prominent “Plank” or upright “Column.” Both are done from canvas, paintings made to look like objects. “Plank” is a witty exercise in art references. In shape, it alludes to John McCracken’s sleek sculptures in the form of planks, which made their debut during the late 1960s. With their painted-on wood grain, Offenbacher’s objects use Pop stylistics from that same decade – in the Lichtenstein mode.”
— Robert L. Pincus, San Diego Union-Tribune, October 10, 2002, pg. 41