Matthew Ivan Cherry, a Boston-based painter, creates oil portraits that ooze with vulnerability and a erratic, yet cohesive style. He uses his subjects, often met on the streets or on social media, to explore issues of individuality, gender identity, and the inherent beauty of the human form. Certain projects, like “somewhereX,” are tethered to Cherry’s upbringing as a Mormon. The project features enormous portraits of LGBTQ mormons (whether active or inactive), including Cherry himself.
The artist has this to say on his process: “My concepts and narratives are integrated and woven with a formal additive/subtractive process layering washes, glazes, marks, and drips that are accumulative and serve as a summation of documented thoughts, impulses and reactions. Balancing representation with abstraction, expressionism and pure mark making, the blend creates a final object with the process integral to the purity of its intent. My energies and oeuvre focus on the depiction of the face, head, bust and body, usually depicted in direct and frontal positions.”
Other projects by Cherry remain mostly figurative, moving between multiple states of the same individual or broader themes that carry across a subset of people. In each, the towering portraits engross at every scale.