House of Crows
30 March – 7 April 2019
Matthew Krishanu, who was born in the UK and emigrated to Dhaka in the 1980s, frequently draws on memories of his childhood in Bangladesh where his parents worked for the Church. His paintings often reference religious themes, depicting churches, missionaries and Christian rites; they are dreamlike, disarming and quietly unsettling.
This exhibition centres around two series of images that the painter has been developing over a number of years: House of God, which depicts landscapes punctuated by the crosses of churches, and Crow, a series begun in 2012.
Krishanu’s crows are painted at small scale in oil or acrylic on board. Never caught in flight, they stand, stride and perch, at times in profile, at others facing you down head on. The paintings are stark, often comprised of densely worked tonal textures of black on black, with shades of darkest blues and browns worked in, set against pale washes of background. Their close cropping gives the skeletal forms of the birds an abstract quality; when grouped, the paintings reveal their individual idiosyncrasies.
The crows have an anthropomorphic quality, by turns menacing, endearing and comical. The series now numbers over 40 paintings in total.
Krishanu sees parallels between his Crow and House of God series, both of which are devoid of humans. In House of God, the focus is brought to the simple form of the Christian cross. Krishanu is interested in the ambivalent relationship we may have to this symbol. As with the crows, its symbolic quality is loaded, evoking a multitude of potential reactions in the viewer.
Krishanu has been invited to install a number of works from these series in response to the 3x3x3 metre cubic gallery space at 92 Webster Road.
Matt’s Gallery thanks the Arts Council England and Ron Henocq Fine Art for their generous support.