Artist vs. Studio: Matthew Offenbacher

Matthew Offenbacher's studio encapsulates the subtle warmth that defines natural light. A delicacy for any painter working in Seattle, light is one of the primary qualities Offenbacher considered when moving from a studio in his garage to his current space a year ago. Now working in a building that formerly functioned as an industrial office, light enters the modest studio from a bank of ragged windows and a makeshift skylight revealed through a missing drop-ceiling panel. More after the jump!  —Erin Langner, Seattle contributor

Affixed directly to the white office walls, Offenbacher’s oil and acrylic paintings on stainguard resonate with confidence in this environment. The awkward, yellow pears of untitled (fruit), 2010, an abstracted still life, absorb the city’s standard, overcast daylight, appearing vibrant and human against the building’s sterile architecture through their uneven shapes and speckled imperfections. Likewise, The Pajama Game severely punctuates the room with its glowing, vintage-Hollywood pink cloud and double entendre that only a Broadway musical could ignore.

Although these two paintings are stylistically disparate, their physical positioning together, between the makeshift skylight and the wall of deteriorating windows, demonstrates how the relationships Offenbacher constructs between color, form, and subject matter pop when seen in the space of their creation and, more importantly, in natural light.

Matthew Offenbacher, untitled, 2009 | Oil and acrylic on stainguard, 52 x 45 inches. Courtesy the artist.

Matthew Offenbacher, untitled (fruit), 2010 | Oil, acrylic, distemper on stainguard, 52 x 45 inches. Courtesy the artist.

Matthew Offenbacher, untitled (horses), 2010 | Oil, acrylic, distemper, paper on stainguard, 52 x 45 inches. Courtesy the artist.

Matthew Offenbacher, untitled, 2009 | Oil and acrylic on stainguard, 52 x 45 inches. Courtesy the artist.

Matthew Offenbacher’s painting The Pajama Game will be on view in a group show of the same name at NEPO House, opening February 5, 2011.

Artist vs. Studio is a series investigating the relationship between artists’ studios and the works created within them. Erin Langner is a writer based in Seattle and is Adult Public Programs Coordinator at the Seattle Art Museum (SAM).

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