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Matthew Bielen
Sparrow-Hawk, 2017
[MB.11]
Acrylic on canvas
Dimensions: 16 x 20 in.

MATTHEW BIELEN WAS BORN IN 1986 IN HOLYOKE MASSACHUSETTS. HE GREW UP IN EAST FOREST PARK, SPRINGFIELD, MASSACHUSETTS AND HAS BEEN PASSIONATE ABOUT DRAWING SINCE HE WAS OLD ENOUGH TO HOLD A PENCIL. HIS PREFERRED MEDIUM IS PAINTING BUT HE HAS EXTENSIVE EXPERIENCE IN CHARCOAL AND DRAWING.

WITH HIS NATURAL APTITUDE FOR ILLUSTRATION, BIELEN INITIALLY STUDIED FIGURE DRAWING WHILE TAKING SEVERAL UNDERGRADUATE CLASSES AT THE MUSEUM OF FINE ARTS IN BOSTON. WHILE HE DEVELOPED A STRONG, FOUNDATIONAL SKILL SET DURING HIS TIME AT COLLEGE, HE DECIDED NOT TO COMPLETE HIS FORMAL STUDIES. WANTING TO CHALLENGE HIMSELF, HE VENTURED INTO PAINTING, FIRST WORKING IN PHOTOREALISM, AND HAS BEEN EXPLORING THE MEDIUM EVER SINCE. OVER THE PAST SEVERAL YEARS HE HAS DEVELOPED A TECHNIQUE OF POURING VIBRANT SWASHES OF ACRYLIC PIGMENT ON CANVAS, AND THEN SHAPING THE EDGES WITH WHITE PAINT. THE WORKS ARE FLUID AND CAPTIVATING, WHILE THE PROCESS OF THEIR CREATION IS METHODICAL, WITH LAYERS GETTING ADDED EVERY TWO DAYS UNTIL THE WORK IS FINISHED.

BIELEN’S PAINTINGS ARE INFLUENCED BY HIS LOVE OF THE OCEAN, AND THE PLAY BETWEEN ORGANIC FORMS AND HUMANS’ ABILITY TO SCULPT THEM. GROWING UP, HIS FAMILY WOULD GO TO THE BEACH IN NEW HAMPSHIRE, WHERE THE NEW ENGLAND BEACH WEATHER WAS FAR MORE UNPREDICTABLE THAN OTHER PLACES SUCH AS ALONG THE S.E. COAST OR WEST COAST; HIS PAINTINGS ARE INFLUENCED BY THESE ATMOSPHERIC WANDERINGS ALONG THE SHORELINE. LIGHTHOUSES, FOG, SWIRLING WATER, ARE ALL IMAGES IMPLIED IN HIS PAINTINGS, ALBEIT CONCEPTUALLY. WORKS SUCH AS ROBERT MOTHERWELL’S ABSTRACT EXPRESSIONIST SERIES,”BESIDE THE SEA,” PAINTED FROM HIS CAPE COD HOME/STUDIO ARE AN EVIDENT INSPIRATION FOR BIELEN’S STYLE, CONTENT, AND COLOR CHOICE, AS ARE HIS OTHER ARTISTIC INFLUENCES BUDD HOPKINS, WENDELIN GLATZEL, AND DAVE HAY.

HIS WORK FOCUSES ON THE MIXING OF ORGANIC AND INORGANIC FORMS TO HIGHLIGHT HOW HUMANS SURVIVE, THRIVE, AND RESPOND TO THE NATURAL WORLD. HE CONVEYS THIS BY REVEALING HIS OWN PRESENCE ON THE CANVAS; BY CHANGING THE SHAPE AND FORM OF THE FLUID POOLS OF PAINT. MATT IS INTERESTED IN INVESTIGATING HOW OTHER PAINTS SUCH AS OIL AND TURPENTINE TELL THEIR STORIES IN FUTURE WORKS, AS WELL AS WHAT SORT OF PERSPECTIVE WORKING ON MORE UNPREDICTABLE SURFACES LIKE CLAYBOARD BRINGS.

BIELEN’S WORK HAS BEEN SHOWN AT A WIDE VARIETY OF GALLERIES AND MUSEUMS IN MASSACHUSETTS, INCLUDING THE PROVINCETOWN ART ASSOCIATION AND MUSEUM, GALERIE BLANC, POST OFFICE GALLERY, LARKIN GALLERY, INC., AND OTHERS.

MATTHEW BIELEN CURRENTLY LIVES AND WORKS IN SPRINGFIELD, MA.