Matthew Benedict was born in Rockville, Connecticut, in 1968. After attending the School of the Art Institute in Chicago and the New School for Social Research, New York, he was awarded distinctions from the Joan Mitchell Foundation and the Penny McCall Foundation. His works are exhibited in numerous private and public collections, including the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Museum of Modern Art, New York, and the FRAC de Picardie, Amiens. Matthew Benedict lives and works in Brooklyn, New York.
Matthew Benedict will be exhibiting his new paintings in the Mai 36 Galerie from 3 March to 22 April. From the beginning, Benedict always worked with various media such as photography, embroidery, painting and sculpture. In the new exhibition, which revolves around the theme of shipping, Benedict uses a variety of media and techniques to evoke a nostalgic retrospective view of the days of sailing and steam ships.
The title Eight Bells, a nautical expression used to mark the change of watch on deck, also refers to this irretrievable past. It was the custom to ring the bell on board naval ships to mark the duration of the watch. The watch changed every four hours. At the end of the first half hour the bell was rung once, it was rung twice after an hour, three times after one and a half hours, four times after two hours etc., until eight rings marked the end of a watch. An uneventful change of watch was accompanied by the words "Eight bells and all is well". The rhythm of the timekeeping was based on the use of a half-hour hourglass that the ship's boy turned every time the sand ran out while ringing the bell on deck the correct number of times. In our era of atomic timekeeping, this procedure acquires an almost mythical character.
Benedict's interest in stories and literary anecdotes is constantly aroused by past procedures and ceremonies of this kind, customs with a ritual quality that is all the stronger now that they are now obsolete and largely forgotten. This also predestines them to become heavily symbolic components of fictional stories. Just as Benedict combines different media in his work, his use of historical and fictional elements blend to form a very personal aesthetic cosmos.