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Work / Art

Artist Matthew Dettmer reinterprets the everyday through his sparsely-detailed paintings

Melbourne-based artist Matthew Dettmer finds portraits the most interesting thing to paint as it allows him to “rework a person into my own style”. “I’m never totally sure how something is going to work out and every now and then you finish a painting and sort of think ‘fuck, that’s pretty good’, that’s definitely the best part,” says Matthew.

The artist describes his style as “flat realism” and his works depict smooth-faced characters and close crops of landscapes that are sparsely detailed. “I’m inspired by everyday life, things I see and experience, which is pretty broad,” says Matthew, and the artist draws upon thoughts that pop into his head as he rides to work and the sports he watches on TV. “Looking at other artists is huge for me too, like Nicole Eisenman, Alex Katz and Wilhelm Sasnal.”

Matthew’s colour palette has a creaminess about it, with a mix of mellow blues and pinks, adding to the flatness of his works. When starting a painting Matthew first draws up an idea and then sets it up in real life and photograph it. “Then I’ll use both the initial drawings and the photos I’ve taken to redraw the idea again and then start painting using everything I’ve got,” he explains. “The painting is usually pretty quick and done within a few days, but getting to that point can take a bit of time.”

Throughout his paintings of humdrum life, Matthew wants to convey his own representation of the world. “Each painting is talking to different everyday experiences and I want to really link these through the style of my paintings,” he says. “I guess I’m trying to convey the human experience I’m exposed to and present this through my own visual language.”

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Matthew Dettmer

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Matthew Dettmer

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Matthew Dettmer

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Matthew Dettmer

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Matthew Dettmer

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Matthew Dettmer

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Matthew Dettmer

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Matthew Dettmer