Artist Matt Saunders lives between Berlin, Germany and Cambridge, Massachusetts where he currently teaches at Harvard University. Saunders work explores and challenges the boundary between still and moving image, between photographic and painted pictures.
A Yale graduate trained in traditional paintings and printmaking; Saunders current works are anything but. The process of his painting is a time based and transitive medium through his camera-less photography. “My paintings are photographic prints. Made without a camera, I’m making my own negatives with painting materials. The painting becomes a tool for making the work, and there is a passing moment of contact in the dark between the painted canvas and the photo paper in which the work is conceived.” The process for producing these works is challenging, “I have to paint the opposite of what I want, which is a kind of blindness. With the large silver gelatin prints on which I hand-paint the chemistry, the whole body comes into play. By the time the image appears, it’s too late to change, so I end up exposing many sheets of paper and more or less learning the choreography through trial and error. Tilted forward with your longest reach to brush on developer, you have to find the image too fast for judgment, through muscle memory. In the colour darkroom, it’s pitch black, and the picture is largely made through feel.” Excerpt from 2016 interview with Rob Colvin.
Matt Saunders works have been exhibited in MoCA, North Adams, MA, the Whitney Museum of American Art, and Aspen Art Museum in Colorado. His work is in the collection of major institutions including the MoMA, NY, the Guggenheim Museum, NY, the SFMMA, California.