Brannon's collage and letterpress works recall the advertising aesthetics of a disillusioned 1950s America.
Matthew Brannon explores the potential of words to communicate, illustrate, misrepresent and confound. His work sometimes recalls the aesthetic language of advertising and posters, particularly from 1950s America. With hindsight, the 1950s has emerged as a decade in which the US presented a thin veneer of strength and unity that barely concealed a bored and disillusioned population, a situation that would result in profound social changes in the following decade. In many ways, this duplicity resonates in Brannon's work, which is frequently comprised of images that would not look out of place in a cookbook, juxtaposed with unsettling or inappropriate snippets of text.
Brannon's work suggests a complex relationship between image and text. Sometimes, the text is printed so small that it can be difficult to read. At other times, it is nonsensical, or at least a non sequitur, and on further occasions it presents a literal, deadpan explanation of the image. Brannon has explored text in a number of forms, from micro-stories to concrete poetry. In the creation of his work, he uses letterpress, an outdated printing technique. In the exhibition, Brannon shows a number of works featuring text spewing from a typewriter, an important device in the artistic positioning of words in society and another reference to a bygone era.
Matthew Brannon was born in St Maries, Idaho, in 1971. He received an MFA from Columbia University, and lives and works in New York. His solo exhibitions include a recent show at the Whitney Museum of American Art at Altria, New York, 2007, and he will have a solo exhibition at The Approach, London, in the autumn.