Matthew Nave

T h e E x i s t e n t i a l i s t

“Self” Portrait
Charcoal, 16×20”, 2020
Epiphany
Charcoal, 16×20”, 2020
Self Portrait,
Charcoal, 16×20”, 2020
The Mortal Coil
Charcoal16x20”, 2020
Rebirth
Charcoal, 16×20”, 2020

Artist Statement

Existentialism is deeply important to me and drives all of my work. Struggling with mental health issues over the years has afforded me, for better or worse, a worldview of a harsh realist, or rather a pessimist. I’ve constantly interrogated myself over the validity of ideas such as the soul, or a meaning to life, and I’ve always come to the same bitter conclusions. The self, indivi-duality, inherent purpose, all are constructs we’ve designed as a species to help us cope with the burden of reality. However, as I grew older and wiser, this perception would be intensely cha-llenged, as certain incidents in my life too profound and numerous to be considered coincidental have led me to believe that perhaps some force or high intelligence may be acting as a guide in my life. Shaking loose from the rigid and harsh worldview of my youth, I surrendered to the pos-sibility that life and our struggles may actually mean something beyond our own personal at-tachments. With my series, I am deeply exploring the illusions and constructs of the human expe-rience while conveying the idea of metamorphosis beyond interpreting life through such a limited scope. I am doing detailed and expressive charcoal drawings, each of which will represent a stage or belief through my journey from pessimist to spiritualist. Flesh will mean more than simply ma-terial matter, as it will function as a visualization of the mind/body duality of Descarte and how our thoughts and feelings influence the form of our bodies. At the center of my series in concep-tual terms is the idea that the existentialist is an almost amorphous and ever-changing individual devoted to two masters: The realist, and the spiritualist.

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