MATASSONI, Terry

Nationality: Australia
Website: Website
Australian Artist
Born: Melbourne, 1958


“I am interested in the alienation experienced in the larger cities, the loss of identity, the loneliness, the stresses on relationships, the power of images, as in the giant billboards that show the perfect body type. I find my inspirations in my immediate surroundings. I look at the people I meet, magazines, TV, from high culture to junk culture, everything is source material.”
T. Matassoni, 1995

Terry Matassoni’s city-scapes feature sex, drugs and rock and roll but from the innocent’s perspective. His cities are grimy. The people in them are faceless. The models on giant billboards which are prominently depicted in his paintings have more character than the actual urban inhabitants. A man in a bar, two clubbers dancing, a hooker. Urban archetypes robbed of a third dimension by the severity of the black line used to outline them.

Larger than life the advertising can be viewed as a type of thought bubble expressing the anonymous desires of the anonymous city populace. Frequently his figures are alone, even when in pairs there is no easy interaction, their body language is posed, stilted. They are uncomfortable, ill at ease in this environment and with each other. The discrepancy between the two worlds is enormous. The “real” world a clumsy imitation of the commercial one.

Matassoni resides in the inner city. He uses this environment but does not identify with it. Sketching it means dealing with the discrepancies he perceives between the idealized commercial life and city reality, dealing with his sense of alienation from both. While anything is potential source material he screens and interprets it in accordance with his own values.

His figures are condemned to two dimensionality, both physically – their painted form – and psychologically for the superficiality of the relationships they hold and desire. A scene taken from a society page featuring dancers is titled bluntly “flirting” and the implicit message of the billboards – in actuality advertising a particular product – exposed as preying on human carnal desire.