“Optimism as cultural rebellion.” - Matthew Stone 2004
"Optimistic thought without action will not fix broken systems. In fact pitching optimism as the primary means of self-actualisation for those facing genuine adversity can be a patronising tool of oppression. By-your-bootstraps philosophies tacitly reassert the toxic idea that inequality arises from the attitudes of those who are oppressed rather than the systemic violence enacted upon them." - Matthew Stone 2016
Matthew Stone is an artist and shaman. These two interconnected roles are defined by his activities as painter, photographer, sculptor, performance artist, writer, Optimist and cultural provocateur. Stone began his career as a leading influencer in a number of counter-cultural movements in London. He was instrumental in developing the South London art collective !WOWOW!.
Stone has been part of a number of critically acclaimed solo and group shows both nationally and internationally. In The United Kingdom he has shown most recently at Somerset House as well as Tate Britain, The ICA and the Royal Academy of Art, and internationally at the Marrakech Biennale, Fiorucci Foundation and Viafarini, Milan. Stone has performed recent works at the Ny Glyptotek, Copenhagen and at the 2013 and 2014 editions of Art Basel Miami Beach.
In terms of composition, colour and treatment of the body, Stone works in explicit relation to the history of painting, seeking to understand and define broader abstract ideologies that relate to the body itself. The artist examines perceptions of interconnection, collaboration and hierarchy through the canon of art as propaganda, seeking to explore optimism and the potential for social unity.
Stone’s most recent body of work demonstrates an innate enthusiasm for the development of painting within the framework of art history. The new works, use 3d modelling software and paint to break with the history of painting on a flat surface, lifting the strokes into a virtual and free space. The addition of shadows and foreshortening creates an illusionistic - trompe l’oeil sense of depth and perspective within the canvases. He organises and examines complex statements in regard to the relationship between painting, photography & computer generated imagery disrupting the holy status of painting as the ‘cosmic flesh’ of art history whilst simultaneously pushing the visceral experience of paint forward. The series offers a new technical approach to traditional painting, showing diverse bodies at play and in conflict. Stone states “These new works divert from my previous, purely optimistic imaginings of neutral utopias. Aiming to recognise both the difficulties of and inherent potential for; mutual and interdependent types of societal healing.”
Stone’s performance art serves also as an important narrative in the artists’ oeuvre; one of his most significant recent works Love Focused Like A Laser was performed against the backdrop of Art Basel Miami 2013. Seeking an examination of the ‘uneasiness’ that exists within contemporary culture, Stone looks to promote philosophical and moral trajectories through an emotional manipulation of his audience. Journeying through a variety of complex notions and ideas, Stone intensively examines the lens’ through which human behaviours exist and adapt.
Matthew Stone was born in 1982 in London, England. He graduated from Camberwell College of Arts with a first class honors degree in painting in 2004. Stone works across a number of different disciplines including painting, sculpture, photography and performance.