Born 1984, Ilmenau (DE)
Lives and works in Vienna (AT)
Throughout his early career, Franz has developed a captivating style of organic representation where viewpoints in his paintings are refracted, obscured, and through this brought closer to life. Directly confronting the complexity of contemporary existence, he approaches the medium of painting as a venture in witnessing and recording his time.
In his paintings, muted earth tones are contrasted with shadowy outlines and full primary hues that comprise invented architectural spaces or uncanny perspectives. The pulling and pushing tension within his brushstrokes captures the sensation of heavy, enlarged forms giving way to more delicate arrangements, infused with the imbalanced weight and proportions one would find in a dream.
Franz is careful to distance the viewer’s perspective from the interior of his paintings. He describes this process as “clinging to the inherent depth and secret of things.” Buried within his images the viewer searches for the face of a figure or the contours of the skyline. Amongst the seemingly unconnected locations pictured throughout his oeuvre he depicts the environment of the academy, onstage performances, and beds full of dreaming bodies. Throughout these scenes, the motif of collective longing is projected into a broader social context, as are suggestions of detachment, inaction, and rebelliousness.
The artist’s early influences include American painters such as Jacob Lawrence and Romare Bearden, while he embraces the expressive grandeur inherited from his continental European predecessors and contemporaries, German painters such as Martin Kippenberger, Albert Oehlen, and Daniel Richter.
Matthias Franz graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna in 2019, where he was a student of Daniel Richter. Franz will participate in the forthcoming group exhibition at GRIMM New York, Condition Humaine, on view from October 28 to December 4, 2021 in the gallery’s recently-opened Tribeca space 54 White Street. The artist’s first solo exhibition with GRIMM will take place at the gallery’s Keizersgracht space in Amsterdam in March 2022.
Franz's work can be found in the Rachofsky Collection, Dallas, TX (US); The Roberts Institute of Art, London (UK); The Franks-Suss Collection, London (UK); Kunstmuseum The Hague (NL) and numerous private collections.