MERCEDES MATTER: A Survey: Paintings & Drawings from 1929 to 1998

6 April - 26 May 2017

This is the first solo show of the late artist at Mark Borghi Fine Art. The exhibition is a mini retrospective of the traveling museum show of Mercedes Matter’s estate represented by Mark Borghi, which was on view at Baruch College, New York, NY, Pepperdine University, Malibu, CA, Guild Hall in East Hampton, NY and finally the Figge Art Museum at Knox College, Davenport, Iowa running from 2009 through 2011.


Featured in the exhibition is a remarkable breath of work spanning Matter’s career from an early portrait in 1929 up to paintings completed in the 1980s and 90s. Most known for her leadership as the founder of the New York Studio School in 1964, Mercedes Matter’s firm belief in observation as means to finding form through drawing and painting may be evidenced in her work and her methodology of teaching. Her educational background, family life and exposure to and relationships with a rich assortment of modernists and Abstract Expressionists, varied circle of colleagues, friends and mentors culminated in her distinctive identity as an artist and mentor. She was the first of few women accepted into the Artists’ Club and participated as an artist in the Works Progress Administration during the depression.


Matter’s observational based abstraction and evolution of her still life genre is noticeable in this intimate selection of works that span the artist’s career. A thought provoking comparison may be seen between two table top still life paintings more than 60 years apart in their making. Found in these paintings is the cyclical nature of artistic discovery and the development of hand and voice over a lifetime. Matter’s persistence and precision of mark making bound to a color palette not divorced from its fauvist lineage, is apparent in paintings made in her youth up to several years before her death. This is a unique opportunity to see such work grouped together from the charismatic artist.