This November, Waddington Custot presents the first UK solo exhibition by New York-based contemporary artist Landon Metz (b.1985, Arizona, USA). Working with thin washes of dye in a single colour, Metz creates subtle yet powerful paintings, distinct for individual, abstract motifs soaked into unprimed canvas. For his exhibition at Waddington Custot, Metz has developed a new series of works in response to the architecture of the Cork Street gallery, extending his trademark visual language with a new colour palette. His pieces interact with the space, which has been stripped back in order to create an open, uninterrupted visual dialogue.
As a result of global travel restrictions over the past year, Metz has been confined to the urban landscape of New York, and his work, more than ever, has provided him with an opportunity to mentally and visually escape from the grid’. In the midst of the buzz and chaos around his new studio in Manhattan, Metz creates a haven of near-complete silence while working. His is a highly ritualised and meditative process, required to allow him to envision and connect with the desert landscape of his childhood home outside Phoenix, in Arizona, which he describes as a profound source of inspiration. Metz describes how his works, while entirely abstract, are ‘created from observations’, and ‘born in the natural world’; he translates the sensation of experiencing the immense striated rock formations and radiant skies of his native Southwestern US state into biomorphic shapes which range across the picture plane.
A self-taught artist, Metz initially drew from sources discovered on the internet and was inspired by Agnes Martin, as well as the Colour Field Painters, namely the work of Helen Frankenthaler, Morris Louis and Kenneth Noland. Parallels can be drawn between these artists and Metz due to their different staining techniques; by spreading thin washes of dye on raw canvas, he achieves varying degrees of saturation, introducing a gentle pulsing energy to the individual forms. Moreover, through the repetition of related compositional arrangements, often in a sequence and beyond the margin of the canvas, Metz evokes a sense of rhythm and flow. The artist explains about making the work: ‘It’s like choreography, it’s like a dance, it’s similar to music and rhythm’.
Metz has a history playing music, and his creative language can also be understood as connected to the experience of learning instruments and reading sheet music. The installation of his paintings in sequence relates to the structure of reading music from left to right, with each section leading to the next. Metz’s practice is a continual exploration into the possibilities of enhancing and navigating space, as he describes: ‘It’s about negotiating between setting and subject, public and private’. At Waddington Custot, his work calls on the viewer to not only consider the paintings in front of them but also to contemplate the negative space within and around the works, which is transformed by their presence and becomes, for the duration of the exhibition, a total environment conceived by the artist.
Landon Metz’s first solo UK exhibition is at Waddington Custot from 26th November 2021–26th January 2022. waddingtoncustot.com Private View: Thursday 25th November 2021
About the Artist
Landon Metz (b.1985, Arizona, USA) is a New York-based contemporary artist whose practice revolves around the activity of painting and also incorporates the vocabulary of sculpture, installation as well as performance. Metz has garnered critical attention for his ability to imbue a spare language of abstraction with visual dynamism and movement. His paintings have the capacity to expand and deal with space serially while being site-responsive rather than site-specific. Metz’s painting practice is marked by a great sensitivity to site and scale and increasingly incorporates performance and sculptural approaches to activate space. Metz’s work has appeared in solo exhibitions in Norway, Italy, Denmark and Canada. In 2014, he was the artist in residence at the ADN Collection in Bolzano, Italy. In 2018, Metz was the subject of a solo exhibition at Museo Pietro Canonica in Rome. Metz was recently featured in the group exhibitions Blue., at The Nassau County Museum of Art In New York, and Greffes, curated by Pier Paolo Pancotto at Villa Medici in Rome. Metz currently lives and works in New York.