Keeping Time: An Opening for “Rhythm” at Irvine’s Great Park Gallery

Matt Maust, Dum Vacation, details

Matt Maust, Dum Vacation, 2016, detail images

The worlds of rock music and fine art have long traded personnel back and forth, from John Lennon dropping out of art school to make music as one of the Beatles to Captain Beefheart dropping out of music to make paintings as Don Van Vliet. Devo’s Mark Mothersbaugh, whose solo show at the Akron Museum of Art just ended, is a more recent exemplar of the creative spirit who is able to walk in both worlds.

Several more examples can be seen in the exhibition “Rhythm” at Irvine’s Great Park, which opened Labor Day weekend.

Matt Maust, Dum Vacation, 2016

Matt Maust, installation view

The standout of the show is a 10-panel installation of collage and mixed media by Matt Maust, bassist for Cold War Kids and represented by Paul Loya Gallery in Culver City. Fabricated from ephemera and printed matter, much of it gathered while on tour, Maust’s work has a Dieter Roth-like quality that would be equally at home reproduced in a ‘zine, hanging in a high-end gallery or plastered to the side of the Berlin Wall.

Joseph Arthur, a prolific musician whose art has often adorned his own albums, says of Maust’s devil-may-care presentation that it inspires him to just create work and not be too precious about the details. The Akron native’s canvases, painted during a sojourn in Los Angeles last year, have the surrealistic feel of automatic drawing, with wild tendrils of ink and twisting lines of color on top of pastel washes. He describes the work as “empathy-based,” being concerned with ideas of transformation, of the human spirit moving from one life to the next, and perhaps worth noting is that they were painted in the wake of the 2013 loss of his friend and mentor Lou Reed, to whom he paid tribute with an album of covers. As Lou once noted, “there’s a bit of magic in everything, and then some loss to even things out.”


Musician and artist Joseph Arthur, in front of Trying to Recall the Beating Wind, mixed media, 2015


The Sunday afternoon opening’s musical theme was further heightened by a nimble set of live jazz by the Dan Kwak Quartet, with Dan Kwak on keyboards, Chris Traynor on trumpet, Robert Felix on bass and Drew Bock on drums.

“Rhythm” runs through November 13.

Great Park Gallery at the Palm Court Arts Complex
6950 Marine Way
Irvine, CA 92618

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