The recent pieces by Austin based illustrator Matthew Woodson arrived in his shop as a drop of ten new prints. Eight of them are 10″ x 12″ and two are 10″ x 10.” Two share a naming scheme, CNCT DTS 01 A and CNCT DTS 02 A respectively. Five others share the S/P prefix in their title, which is not as strong of a direct lineage to language as CNCT DTS is to CONNECT DOTS.
Throughout the series a human-like figure stands, its face towards the viewer. At its side, a faceless dog, its head ink black. In the final two prints, the dog stands alone. These final pieces are titled FAREWELL and GOODBYE. None of these details mean anything on their own but when in taking in new work from Matthew Woodson it is best to sit with each element awhile. Within the stark elements of his illustrations is a simple magic, an alien voice speaking.
The ten prints are not explicitly labeled as a series, as are none of Woodson’s string of similar illustrations. The dog at the side of the figure, a hollow sack of clothes possibly, a scarecrow real enough to keep a dog at its side. When the figure is gone, the dog stands alone. Did our presence scare off the scarecrow? Is the viewer the crow to be frightened off, or the expected guest arriving too late? The only scarecrow without a hand drawn smiling face is the one that stands sans canine. No dog to keep up the pretense of being human. These are the stories Woodson inspires.
In CNCT DTS 01 A and CNCT DTS 02, it’s as if Woodson is playing a game — tracing the arc of the bird with the eye, connecting the points of entry and retreat. It feels like a search for reasoning behind flight, how it works. Why it works. Woodson has explored similar concepts in his series of GOG objects. There’s a naïveté towards the treatment of the shapes. A searching for sense in a senseless world.
In these latest prints Woodson continues to share a story of his own making, or of our own, or perhaps a dreamstate where all knowledge of this iconography is shared. Woodson’s prints lay out like images from another culture trying to communicate, but we do not speak the same language.