M+B is pleased to announce an exhibition of new work by Matthew Porter titled High Lonesome, running from December 12, 2009 to January 23, 2010.
The exhibition contains 18 photographs, varying in size and sometimes clustered together in a seemingly inchoate mass. But two themes persist: the American West and the Hindenburg. The show is an attempt at historical mash-up, bringing together romantic imagery of cowboys and zeppelins. Both subjects are iconic, yet their reputations have been soured by facts, as history overtakes myth. The Hindenburg, which began its life as the fountainhead of German creative and entrepreneurial vision, ended in a fiery death under the dark shroud of Nazi propaganda. As a romantic symbol it has been spoiled, much like the history of the American West—you can’t watch The Searchers without being aware of the racism.
While not a direct narrative, the fictional meeting of a cowboy and the Hindenburg after peripatetic wanderings through the desert has the familiar ring of cheap science fiction. Dinosaurs didn’t share the planet with cavemen, but their fictional conflict has been featured in a variety of media. This absurd collision is represented in the cornerstone piece Farewell, Promised Land, a photograph of a few shelves in a personal library; the shelf containing WWII nonfiction bleeds into the shelf containing Western history, while the entire rack is peppered with fiction.
Matthew Porter was born in State College, Pennsylvania in 1975. He graduated from Bard College in 1998 and received his MFA from the ICP/Bard Program for Advanced Photographic Studies in New York in 2006 and now resides in Brooklyn. His work has recently been exhibited in New York, Miami and Dallas and featured in the New York Times Magazine, Modern Painters, VMan, and Exit. This is Porter’s first exhibition in Los Angeles and with M+B.