CARSON CITY – In Matthew Couper’s exhibition, “From Dust to Water,” the Las Vegas-based artist uses the language of symbols – skeletons and cacti, blenders and playing cards – to combine pictorial elements in witty and incisive visual narratives.
Social commentary is the emphasis in the Couper’s works, and he often uses Las Vegas iconography to get there, but these artworks aren’t just about the Valley. Their surreal content addresses bizarre phenomena in an increasingly post-humanist, globalized culture.
The exhibition will be featured at the Nevada Arts Council’s OXS Gallery in Carson City through July 13.
This artwork was created between 2011 and 2017 and includes paintings influenced by Spanish Colonial art. The scale ranges from miniatures to large-format pieces, mainly oil on canvas, metal and paper, along with wood block prints, mixed media works and lithographs.
Couper’s unique background – a New Zealander by birth, a Las Vegan by choice – has contributed to the complex, hybrid nature of his imagery.
“I’m starting from scratch, but knowing that I need to assimilate socially and culturally while retaining a sense of where I came from,” he said.
Couper graduated with a painting Fine Arts degree in New Zealand in 1998. In 2003, he was awarded a Royal Over-Seas League International Scholarship to work and travel in the United Kingdom.
He received an Artist Fellowship from the Nevada Arts Council in 2018 and was awarded an Arquetopia Artist Residency in Puebla City, Mexico which resulted in a large state-wide survey exhibition in 2016 and 2017 at the Nevada Museum of Art in Reno. He recently completed an Artist Print Residency at Idem Paris and an artist residency at Manoir du Bonhere, Normandie, France.
Managed by the Artist Services Program at the Nevada Arts Council, the OXS Gallery is located at 716 N. Carson St., Suite A, in Carson City. Hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and admission is free.